Literally , in Hebrew : Hand and Name.

Yad Vashem is the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority. It was established in 1953 by an act of the Israeli Knesset in order to commemorate the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators.

Yad Vashem's task is to perpetuate the legacy of the Holocaust to future generations so that the world will never forget the horrors and cruelty of the Holocaust. Its principal missions are commemoration and documentation of the events of the Holocaust, collection, examination and publication of testimonies to the Holocaust, collection and memorialization of the names of Holocaust victims, research and education. All in all, Yad Vashem is the world's top authority on just about everything related to the Holocaust.

Yad Vashem is situated on Har Hazikaron, the Mount of Remembrance, in Jerusalem. There are two major museums, several exhibition halls, and the most important repository of information of the Holocaust in the world. Every year, more than 2,000,000 people visit Yad Vashem, including Heads of State.

Possibly the most moving part of Yad Vashem is a hall in memory of the children murdered in the Holocaust. The hall is dark, but there are one million lights, one for each child murdered.

Thanks to Yad Vashem, Israel.

Literally, in Hebrew : Hand and Name.

Yad also has an archaic meaning which is something like memorial, or, say, dolmen - not a statue or plaque, but rather a comemmorative feature which is organic to the landscape.

The meaning of the name for this particular holocaust museum is that far from concentrating only on the horrors of the Shoa, but is also a memorial to the people who died in it and those who showed great bravery in helping them. The information center in the museum strives to record the name of every person lost - hence the Shem aspect.

Yad Vashem contains many memorials, including the Childrens' memorial (mentioned above) and the "Valley of the Lost Communities", a huge memorial cut into the side of the hill, with the names of the thousands of Jewish communities from Eastern Europe that were destroyed by the Nazis.

These memorials are very appropriate and striking, but none are as effective as the main hall of rememberance.

It's a large but not huge building, probably about 25 metres square. The walls are made of unhewn stones. The ceiling isn't high, and rises to a slightly higher peak near one corner.

Men are asked to cover their heads, a Jewish sign of respect, on entering (Kurt Waldheim as secretary general of the United Nations famously refused), and move along a wide walkway, raised slightly off the floor, that goes along two walls of the building.

You look into the volume of the building. There's nothing fancy, nothing trendy. A Ner Tamid, an everlasting flame, burns in one corner, in perpetual memory of those who lost their lives. Written on the floor, in large stones, in Hebrew and English, are the names of the Nazi Concentration Camps and Death Camps that were in total responsible for the death of about six million Jews. That's about 75 times the capacity of the Stade de France, the state of the art Soccer stadium built for the World Cup in 1998.

You stand.

You look.

You think.

You remember.

Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.

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