Holocaust Museum

Holocaust Museum, Jerusalem

Zion Gate Oskar Schindler Grave
Holocaust Museum Jerusalem

Holocaust Museum - Jerusalem

The Holocaust museum in Jerusalem is comprised of two sites. Yad Vashem, the larger museum, is on Mount Herzi next to the Jerusalem forest, while the "Chamber of the Holocaust," the original, smaller museum, is just outside Old Jerusalem on Mount Zion.

My impression of the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem is somewhat tempered by prior visits to the Holocaust museum in Dachau, Germany and one at Auschwitz, Poland. The Holocaust museum in Dachau did the best job of teaching about Nazism and the Holocaust, while the one near Auschwitz, Poland wasn't a museum per se, but rather the ruins of the massive concentration camp where over a million Jews were murdered with industrial efficiency.

At Auschwitz, where I spent an afternoon walking around by myself, there was a room, the size of a school classroom, that was filled with eyeglasses taken from the victims. Adjacent to it was another room, about the same size, filled with artificial legs taken from the victims. The rooms went on and on, each filled with just one type of items taken from the victims. And they weren't even all of the items that were taken from the victims, but rather just those that happened to be awaiting the next transport to Germany when the Russian troops reached Auschwitz near the end of World War II.

I will never forget the pond in the middle of the ruins of the massive concentration camp. From a distance, the pond seemed to move, so I walked over for a closer look. What was moving were thousands, perhaps millions of frogs. The Nazis had dumped the ashes of the victims into the pond and the frogs were still feeding on the nutrients from a million burnt human corpses. I felt the presence of pure evil and left there in a hurry, utterly revolted by the magnitude of the evil that people - brainwashed or not - had been capable.

Anyway, let's get back to the museums in Jerusalem. Above is one of the exhibits at the smaller of the two, on Mount Zion. A sadistic Nazi officer apparently ordered a Jewish tailor to make him a shirt from pages of the Torah, which would have to be desecrated. The tailor had the last word, however, as he only used verses that speak of curses.

Travel Tip
Yad Vashem, the larger of the two museums, is relatively easy to get to. Hop on the number 99 tourist bus and ask to be let off at the Mount Herzi stop. Finding the smaller one is trickier, as it is tucked away in a small street on Mount Zion. Your best bet is to exit the Old City via the Zion Gate and ask the local women. Beware of the local men sitting at their doorways who offer to take you to the museum if you will just take a moment to step through their doorway and sign their guest book. If you do that, they'll ask you for money, so just keep walking. Your destination is about 50 yards from them, and the cashier at this "free" site will ask you to donate anyway once you get there.

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