Holocaust Museum

Oskar Schindler Grave Israel Museum

Holocaust Museum

Holocaust Museum Jerusalem

Holocaust Museum, Jerusalem

Jerusalem has two Holocaust museums. Yad Vashem, the larger Holocaust museum, is on Mount Herzi next to the Jerusalem Forest, while the Chamber of the Holocaust - the original and smaller Holocaust museum - is just outside Old Jerusalem on Mount Zion.

The larger Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem is a sprawling compound that covers 45 acres, more than double the size of Israel Museum, the national museum of Israel, and also receives more visitors than the latter. Yad Vashem includes the Holocaust History Museum, the Hall of Remembrance, the Museum of Holocaust Art, the International Institute for Holocaust Studies, and the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations, which honors the gentiles deemed "Righteous Among the Nations" for having saved Jews during the Holocaust.*

The Chamber of the Holocaust - the smaller Holocaust museum - was built just after the recreation of the state of Israel in 1948 and has only ten rooms. Founded and still operated by Orthodox Jews, the Chamber of the Holocaust exhibits many of the atrocities committed against not only the Jews but also against Judaism itself, including drums, wallets, purses and other items that the Jews were forced to make from the Torah, which they had to desecrate. Above is one such item: a shirt made from pages of the Torah that a Nazi officer ordered a Jewish tailor to make for him. The tailor had the last word, as he used only verses that speak of curses.

The artifacts on display at both Holocaust museums originate from Europe, including Auschwitz.

* While Oskar Schindler remains best-known gentile honored as "Righteous Among the Nations" (see Oskar Schindler's Grave), the list includes over 26,000 others, and there are some surprises:

Albert Göring, the younger brother of Hermann Göring - the top Nazi who headed the German Air Force - freed many Jews from the Gestapo and helped many of them escape to neutral countries.

İsmail Necdet Kent, the Muslim Turkish Consul General of Marseille, France granted Turkish citizenship to hundreds of Jews. Once, he even jumped aboard a train bound for Auschwitz and saved the 70 Jews on board by making them Turkish citizens while en route.

Max Liedtke was a Major in charge of the German Army garrison at Przemyśl, Poland and Albert Battel was a Lieutenant under his command. When the SS came to liquidate the Jews in the town's Jewish ghetto on July 26, 1942, Liedtke and Battel had their men raise their rifles and threatened to shoot the SS unless they withdrew, which they did. Before the SS could return with reinforcements, Battel trucked 100 Jews from the ghetto to the safety of the German Army barracks, where Liedtke, a Lutheran seminarian who understood why Jesus was crucified, protected them.

Travel Tip
To reach Yad Vashem, simply take the number 99 tourist bus and ask to be let off at the Mount Herzi stop. To reach the Chamber of the Holocaust, which is tucked away in a small street on Mount Zion, exit Old Jerusalem via the Zion Gate and ask the local women. Avoid the local men sitting at their doorways who offer to take you to the "Holocaust museum" if you will just take a moment to step through their doorway and sign their guest book. If you do that, they will then lift the handkerchief covering a "donation" basket and ask for a donation, so just keep walking. The Chamber of the Holocaust 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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