Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Holocaust Tragedy

Our first destination for the day was the Yad Uashem museum which is a thoughtfully presented history detailing the story of the Jewish persecution during WW2.  It took us close to 3 hours to tour the museum and suffice it to say that both of us were drained and depressed after reading the personal accounts of life in the ghettos and concentration camps, watching graphic historical footage of human bodies being bulldozed like rubbish and hearing survivors’ heart wrenching stories about their horrific experiences.  It was a lot to process and almost too much to comprehend all in one visit.

Absalom's Pillar
Asides from the museum the site also included an exhibition displaying portraits that were done by people during the war.  Many people asked for their picture to be drawn so that their face would not be forgotten since they knew they would not survive the war, so many of them are just done on scrap pieces of paper or whatever could be found to draw the portrait on.  For some reason it’s the normalcy of the faces that impacts you as you realise that the majority of people affected by the war were just everyday people trying to survive.

Spices in the souks
There is also an amazing memorial for the 1000's of children's lives that were lost - as you enter you move into a dark hallway which leads into a mirrored chamber that is lit up with candles that are reflected in every direction and seem to go on endlessly.  While you gaze into the flickering infinity the names and age of the children who died during the war are read aloud and echo around the room.  The effect is sobering and was really too much for many people who entered… we lingered quite a while feeling like we needed to pay the proper respect to the children whose lives were cut so horribly short.

Sunset from our campus accomodation
Back in the sunshine we tried to snap out of our depressive mood, but it was a hard ask as the place really had revealed some of the more horrific sides of war and it really left an impact on us.  We took the tram into the old town and explored the City of David which is still being excavated and is situated right next to Jerusalem (many consider it to be the original Jerusalem).  Nearby we saw the site named Absalom's Pillar which is considered to be his mausoleum, and is impressively carved.  We also climbed up and explored the large rock cut tombs which are next to it and reminded us of the similar ones in Turkey.  

Drained after a long museum day we had an early dinner in the souks and then caught the tram back to our car and headed back to pack our bags so we could be away early the next morning as we were bound for our next country - Jordan!

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