Last week marked was the annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It serves to remember the six-million Jewish people and 11 million others that the Nazi’s killed during World War Two. Though the years have passed, we must never forget and never let it happen again. There are still survivors alive in Israel, including our own CEO and Founder, Phillip Meyers, and many of Israel’s citizens have family ties directly to victims of this horrible period of violence. Around 140,000 survivors remain in Israel as of January 2020, with an average of age of 85 years old. There were 900 survivors who died from the COVID-19 virus in the past year.
The Holocaust, is written into the very identity of Israel. When you visit Israel, you can find ways to honor the victims of this horrible tragedy. Here are some ways you can remember these events during your visit.
Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum
Yad Vashem is the official Holocaust Museum in Israel. Located in Jerusalem, it began in 1953, not even a decade after the horror of the era ended. It has grown in scope and size over the years. It is only second to the Western Wall for visitors, welcoming around one-million visitors annually.
At the museum you will see several specific monuments, such as the Monument to Children. It was funded by a couple who’s two-and-a-half-year-old son was murdered in Auschwitz in a gas chamber. Photos of the children killed are casted upon the walls along with candle lights. Names of the children are recited, along with where they were from and how old they were on continuous loop.
It takes three months to list all of the names.
Another part of the museum is the Righteous of the Nations. It honors non-Jews who took extraordinary steps to protect and save Jews with no other desire than to do what was right. This often came at great personal loss and even death. Philip Meyer’s own father was saved by a Nazi officer’s wife who helped smuggle him from his camp and into the care of a local pastor. No one knows what happened to her or if her actions were ever discovered.
Chamber of the Holocaust
This was the first museum opened in Israel to honor the victims of the Holocaust and it is on Mt. Zion where it’s been since 1949. There, the ashes of victims from Oranienburg Concentration Camp were buried, along with the ashes of desecrated Torah scrolls.
Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors
The Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors is a home for impoverished, struggling and lonely survivors, ran in partnership with the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. This home not only houses seniors, but also serves as a community center for other survivors in the area, offering services but also community.
Some groups enjoy a visit to this home to show love to the people there through acts of service and also to learn from them as their perspective is quickly passing from being in our midst.
However you choose to remember the events and victims, please remember wherever you are to never forget what happened and the victims and never allow it to happen again.