Yad Vashem Museum
Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Authority, is Jerusalem's international center for the documentation, research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust. The sprawling campus's most commonly toured area is its unparalleled Holocaust History Museum, considered a must during any visit to Israel. Covering over an acre of land, most of the museum was built underground. The story of the Holocaust is told from the perspective of the experiences of the Jewish people and focuses on the stories of individual victims, primarily through testimony, personal artifacts and original historical documents.
As visitors tour the museum, which is oriented around a series of ten galleries originating from the long central corridor, the Holocaust unfolds in chronological order. The first gallery is called “The World that Was” and describes Jewish life in Europe before the Holocaust era. Each successive gallery reveals another chapter of the Holocaust. At the end of the museum, the building opens from darkness to light, and visitors are treated to a dramatic, panoramic view of Jerusalem.
In the museum itself, don’t miss the Hall of Names, a memorial to the individual victims of the Holocaust. The cone-shaped ceiling features 600 photographs, representing the six million Jewish men, women and children who were systematically murdered by the Nazis. Another significant highlight is the Children’s Memorial, hewn from an underground cavern. Its flickering memorial candles and the perpetual recitation of the names, ages and countries of origin of the 1.5 million children murdered in the Holocaust provide a reverential experience.
Many Holy Land tours coordinate their visits to the museum here with the Christian Friends of Yad Vashem, an organization that raises awareness of the Holocaust and its universal lessons in Christian communities around the world, building bridges between Jews and Christians.