Yad Vashem, Israel’s largest Holocaust memorial, sits on the slopes of the Mount of Remembrance on the edge of Jerusalem. The Yad Vashem Museum opened in 2005. Its nine chilling galleries of interactive historical displays present the Holocaust. It uses a range of multimedia including photographs, films, documents, letters, works of art, and personal items found in the camps and ghettos. Yad Vashem is a place which is not fun to visit. It is definitely somewhere that we recommend all visitors to Israel experience. Visiting Yad Vashem can be done either with a tour or independently.
History of Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum
Yad Vashem started as an organization in 1953 to document the memory of Holocaust victims. It also detailed the history of the Jewish people during the Holocaust for remembrance by future generations.
The new Yad Vashem opened in 2005. Shaped as a prism penetrating the mountain, the museum’s architecture sets the atmosphere for the 9 chilling galleries of interactive historical displays which present the Holocaust in many ways. These include photographs, films, documents, letters, works of art, and personal items found in the camps and ghettos.
The museum leads into the Hall of Names, an eerie space containing over three million names of Holocaust victims. These names come from their families and relatives. Names can still be submitted by visitors to the memorial and added to the computerized archive. Visitors are able to search through the records.
In addition to the Holocaust History Museum, the Yad Vashem campus has a number of other memorials you can visit. These include the Hall of Remembrance. Here, the ashes of the dead are buried and an eternal flame burns in commemoration. It also houses Yad Layeled, the children’s memorial. This commemorates the one and a half million Jewish children who perished in the Holocaust. The Memorial to the Deportees is a railroad car hanging over the cliff on the road, winding down the mountain. This commemorates those who were deported.
The Avenue of the Righteous Among the Nations has over 2,000 trees. These stand in honor of non-Jews who endangered their lives in order to rescue Jews from the Nazis.
Visiting the Holocaust Museum
Yad Vashem is not an emotionally easy museum to visit. It is definitely the most important site for any visitor to Israel in order to understand the true scale and impact of the Holocaust.
You could spend as little as two hours here, or as long as a whole day in the museum and complex. Tours are available but we think the best way to experience this museum is at your own pace. Entry is free.
The Jerusalem Old City, New City, and Yad Vashem tour is available every day from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and includes a tour of Jerusalem’s Old City, passing the highlights of the New City, followed by time to explore Yad Vashem either independently or joining a tour.
Useful Information: Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum