By Sandra Elzie
The last two weeks in Israel have been fun. There is a lot more to see there than people imagine. We’ve visited Petra the then The Dead Sea and Masada and it’s almost time to head home. Time has flown. In our case, however, things didn’t “fly” well at the end of our two-week visit to the Holy Land.
By now we’re tired and looking forward to going home. Please know that this is no reflection on the country we were visiting. We’d seen Jerusalem, the Dome of the Rock and the Wailing Wall. We’d shopped in all the small vendor shops until we thought we’d drop, strolled through museums galore and visited the Garden of Gethsemane. We’d seen the area where it’s believed Jesus was born, Golgotha where Jesus was crucified and even had communion in the garden where Jesus was put in the tomb after His death. We had ridden in a fishing-sized boat on the Sea of Galilee and some of our group had been baptized in the Jordan River…as the Bible tells us that John baptized Jesus…and even ridden to the top of a mountain in Megiddo and looked out over the valley where the Battle of Armageddon will take place as prophesied in the book of Revelation. We had enjoyed every single day of the two weeks, but we were ready to go home.
Then the night before our flight, we’re told that we don’t have to set our alarm clocks for 4:00 am since there is an air-traffic-controller’s strike and we’re stuck in Tel Aviv until it ends. Ugh. But we accepted our fate with tired smiles and our tour company was fantastic. They got us very nice accommodations and promised us flight arrangements home just as quickly as possible. Then they arranged for us to visit one last place…one I’m so thankful we didn’t miss…The Holocaust Museum.
The museum complex includes The Holocaust History Museum, The Holocaust Art Museum, The Exhibitions Pavilion, Hall of Remembrance, Pillar of Heroism (commemorating Jewish resistance during the Holocaust), a Children’s Memorial, The Cattle Car Memorial to the deportees, the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations, and much, much more. But it’s The Hall of Names that will forever reside in my heart and what I’m focusing on today.
The Hall of Names is where individual Jews who perished in the Holocaust are commemorated on Pages of Testimony submitted by survivors, relatives or friends. Pages of Testimony contain the names, biographical details and…when available…photographs of the victims. There are currently over two million Pages of Testimony and the number continues to grow as later generations submit their ancestors. These photos and the written words of the victims give the long-since dead a personal identity. Each of the men, women and children were tattooed with an identification number by the Nazis, but this exhibit makes them an individual personality, not just one of the over 6 million who perished at the hand of the Nazis and those who helped the Nazis. These photos put names and faces to the victims, making you remember they were once living, loving and laughing humans who had dreams and goals just as we do today. http://db.yadvashem.org/names/search.html?language=en
The Hall of Names is housed within the Holocaust Museum and is two huge opposing cone-shaped structures. The top cone portion is approximately 32 feet high and displays 600 photos of victims and fragments of testimony. These portraits are reflected in water (representing the tears of the victims) at the bottom of the opposing cone. http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/museum/
Our guide told us that there are factions today who claim the holocaust never happened, but when Allied Forces defeated Hitler and the emaciated victims in the concentration camps were rescued and the mass graves were uncovered, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 5-star General in the U.S. Army and later the 34th president, ordered lots of pictures to be taken to fully document the atrocities. He wanted the world to know what had been done to this race of people and also he felt the documentation was needed to prevent anyone in the future from saying it never happened.
After leaving the exhibit, we spent the remainder of our visit to Israel in the luxury of our hotel, poolside, and since the Controller’s strike ended quickly, we were soon on a Delta flight straight through to Atlanta. We were tired, but the trip was one of the best we’ve ever been on and I’d go back in a heartbeat. Till next time, Shalom, my friends.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sandra Elzie writes contemporary romance and lives with her husband in the Atlanta, Georgia area. Oh, and we can’t forget the owner of Sandy’s house, Jack, the resident feline. You can read more about her on her website...www.SandraElzie.com Her books are available on Amazon.