Visiting the Holocaust Museum

Touring Yad Vashem

Visiting The Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem would unveil a new design. As a private tour guide in Israel, I’ve visited the museum many times. Every visit I’m always left impressed and very emotional. But you must wonder why did the board of directors of Yad Vashem decide to invest so much money in a totally new museum? What was wrong with the old museum?



A New Generation is Visiting the Holocaust Museum

So the old Holocaust museum was built soon after the holocaust ended in the 1950s. In the beginning, the people that came to visit the museum were actually the survivors themselves. In other words, they weren’t needed to be told the story; that is why the old museum was this mishmash of events next to shocking sights like a pile of human hair or a heap of glasses worn by victims before being sent to the crematoriums. What it didn’t have for sure was a narrative, the old holocaust museum didn’t tell a story; Not on a collective level as a nation and not on an individual level.



Back then when people went visiting the Holocaust Museum; it was meant to be a place to mourn; a place where survivors could honor the dead that perished in Auschwitz. Yad Vashem was a collective memorial ground for those six million Jews that didn’t have a marked grave. Even Though the Germans massacred the Jews all over Europe, very few had the luxury to be buried properly. No doubt about it those displays in the old museum were shocking.

People like myself visiting the Holocaust Museum didn’t forget what they saw in the old museum when I went visiting the Holocaust Museum. But if you would have asked them at the end of their visit: “What is the difference between a ghetto and a death camp?” I’m not sure if they could have answered the question.



Visiting the Holocaust Museum: The Second Generation

Even the second generation after the Holocaust that visited the museum was not needed to be told the story. It’s true the many survivors didn’t speak about the atrocities with their kids. But just living in the same house with the survivors inflected with post-trauma syndrome gave the 2nd generation a very good idea of what happened there. Getting up in the middle of the night hearing your mom screaming from nightmares; storing huge amounts of food in the house; Not leaving the dinner table till the plate is squeaky clean; All this and much more were phenomena that the second generation after the Holocaust had to deal with.



And Then the Third Generation Came

My grandfather was a holocaust survivor from Auschwitz. In fact, on his arm he had a number tattooed, I never dared to talk to him about and he didn’t feel like opening up. I grew up next to him, playing with him but I never knew what happened to him, I didn’t know what happened to my great grandparents. Till today it is a black hole in our family history.

That was the point time more or less than in Yadvashem understood they need a totally new museum. Not for the survivors that knew what happened over there more than well, and not even for their kids. The new museum that was inaugurated in 2006 was built for the 3rd and 4th generations visiting the Holocaust Museum, who don’t know the story, and there is no one around to tell them.



So the new museum in its essence is retelling the story to those who do not know what happened. The museum is going back to basics. Trying to answer the fundamental questions like: – What is an extermination camp? Why did the Nazis were voted into power by the German people? What are the roots of Antisemitism? and much more.

The new museum does not try to shock or horror the visitor. The museum tries to educate about the subject in quite a rational way. Firstly, by using real testimonials of survivors. Secondly, by showing personal items that were left behind by victims, trying to break down this indecipherable number – 6,000,000, to something that a human mind could comprehend – an individual – each one of them was a whole world.

.

apt-stamp-white@2x
arik-about

Hi! My name is Arik Haglili, an Israeli native who decided to dedicate his life to share my knowledge about the Holy Land to those that are interested to know more about this amazing piece of land. My career as a private tour guide started at the International School For the Studying of the Holocaust and the rest is history. 

Did you know the Hoopoe is Israel's national bird?! For more cool info about Israel, join our ever growing community and get exclusive travel tips, and giveaways!

Holocaust Museum Tour

RELATED POSTS

IDF Museums Tour

On this IDF Museums tour, we would explore the different museums the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) has to offer. And they're quite a few!

Top 5 Things to Do in Haifa

What are the top 5 things to do in Haifa? Here is my ultimate shortlist of things you should have on your list while touring Haifa!

Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art

The Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art in Haifa is a hidden gem that showcases the rich cultural heritage of Japan. Don't miss it!

Israel Museum Tour

This time we are going to tour the Israel Museum. My Israel Museum Tour is one of my favorite tours I like to give. It's a must-see site!

Ammunition Hill Museum

Ammunition Hill is a memorial commemorating the Battle of Ammunition Hill. Now there is a nice museum and you can walk the actual trenches.

Islamic Museum

Firstly, the Islamic Museum’s focus is on the history of Islam. In fact, the museum is documenting ten periods of Islamic history and celebrating several ...

Ayalon Institute Museum

Machon Ayalon, also known today as the Ayalon institute Museum tells the heroic story of those who fought in the 1948 War.

Bloomfield Science Museum

The Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem is an educational institution that focuses on the subjects of science and technology.

Agnon House

Agnon House is a museum dedicated to the Nobel Prize-winning author S.Y. Agnon. The museum provides visitors a look into his life and home.

Time Elevator Jerusalem

The Time Elevator Jerusalem is a one-of-a-kind museum that offers visitors a mesmerizing journey through 3.000 years of the city’s history.

Need help?