By Alyssa Chalmin, Sci-Tech Israel Madricha
Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust memorial outside of Jerusalem, tells a story of the Jewish people and their persecution. On July 6th, through original artifacts, survivor interviews, and expert tour guides, the Sci-Tech Israel teens learned about the Holocaust through stories and faces.
Our tour guide taught about the “righteous among nations”, those who were not Jewish but took in Jews during the Holocaust in hopes of saving many lives. We learned about the lives of Jews before the Holocaust, watching film of happy families waving and smiling. We viewed propaganda that was plastered on store windows and lamp posts.
Throughout it all, the guide reminded us to focus on the stories of the people that were killed in the Holocaust. A teen reflected that Yad Vashem doesn’t focus on numbers but on individual stories. It focuses on the lives of the Jewish people before, during, and after, and on the strength and faith required to survive.
We also discussed how Jewish youth fought against persecution and inequality. A plaque in the museum talking about the Warsaw ghetto said: “Jewish youth rose up and fought for the honor of their people”. I hope that our teens left inspired to rise up and fight for their people in the face of any discrimination.
It was a special and personal look inside the lives of people affected by the Holocaust. Teens shared later that they felt connected through affected family, emotional connection to the Jewish people, and historical knowledge of the Shoah. I hope they carry the memory of not only the visit to Yad Vashem but also that of the people and faces they learned about there.