Photo and caption taken from the Yad Vashem website
The Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and Museum looks like a long pod. Visitors begin the journey at one end — pre-Hitler — then work their way to the other end —
through volumes of devastation.
Our tour begins in an open theatre;
Floor to ceiling moving pictures set to music;
Depictions of happy times for the Jewish people;
children playing — as children do.
Through window panes, we spied fine clocks and furnishings,
families enjoying tea
and mothers smiling — as mothers do.
Along the bottom of the screen,
a tiny, plump bird hopped along, pecking at seed in the snow.
A small representation of sweetness and life.
As we moved down the hall of the museum, we came forward in history,
through pictures, video testimonies, and artistic expressions,
depicting the eventual crushing of the Jewish culture.
and the murder
of six million Jewish people,
not counting those not counted.
The fragile little bird disappeared.
The most profoundly simple,
There was an immense pile of old, worn shoes…
the shoes of the dead.
Movies recorded the faces of the men who had joined together
to burn books written by Jewish authors.
While there was no sound,
the message was still loud.
Men jeered and laughed, self-righteously.
Others worked as if on a critical mission — as if they were doing community service.
They could have been any men.
Their faces were not unusual.
They were sure and proud and cruel.
Hitler planted small ideas, full of hate,
and men allowed them to grow.
They fed the ideas their agreement,
and the most evil thing in history happened.
The Nazis lined naked women and children along the edge of a pit, to shoot them, and watch them fall.
The ground was filled with the bones of suffering.
Shoes and gold teeth, and rings, and wares, were piled in great heaps —
Now on display,
as a testimony of grief.
Further inside, 3D models of the gas chambers and stories of the smoke stacks.
But, we know that ashes make the ground fertile,
And even in this horror,
the enemy did not prevail.
Yad Vashem provides not only a historical tour, a place to remember,
and to honor the dead,
but it also paints a portrait of what hatred
looks like on the face of the mocking mobs,
and how dangerous it can be, left to grow unchecked.
The Holocaust provides us with the most graphic example of all time.
All hatred is leveled opposition to God Almighty;
and there is none that is a special breed.
Never a more justified pill than hatred gets swallowed.
“If you do away with (or stop, or fast from), the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, (stop condemning and shaming others), and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your
night will become like the noonday.
… But he accepted the shame as if it were nothing because of the joy that God put before him…”
On, January 27, 2016, Holocaust Memorial Day, this post was pulled from a journal entry I wrote while visiting Israel in 2007, with Dr. Susan Watson of John 17 Ministries. While in Israel, Dr. Susan revealed the contrast between the men who adopted Nazi hatred- which led to death and destruction, and Jesus, who by staying focused on God’s will, poured out healing and transforming love, even in the face of ridicule, shame, and abuse. The greatest love and the greatest hate, played out on the stage, which is Israel, starring the beloved Jewish people.
John chapter 17