On Friday, July 24th, we visited the Holocaust museum Yad Vashem. We took the train to the museum and got a little lost trying to find it. The shuttle to the museum took a while and by the time we were on the shuttle to the museum, it seemed pointless to wait for the shuttle and that we could have just walked. Due to our wait, we were a little late to meet our guide. Thankfully, we had to check our bags so we didn’t have to carry them around the museum. At the museum, we had headphones to listen to a microphone that our guide was speaking into. It was convenient to have the headphones so we could walk away from the guide and he didn’t have to yell.
When entering the museum, we had to cross a long, wooden path to enter. They have a continually playing video projected on the wall of positive memories of Jews living before the Holocaust to start the tour. The building itself had such clever architecture to be a metaphor of the horrible experience of the horror that Jews suffered. The exhibits were rooms on either side of a middle walk way that required you to cross back and forth from either side of the building from little rooms to a big, open middle of the building space. Each exhibit followed the linear progression of Hitler winning the election to the beginning of concentration camps to the death camps to those who helped save Jews and finally with the names and pictures of people who died.
Our guide was informative and gave him narrative of his experience as a Polish Jew. He sang a lullaby for us and began to choke up and cry when telling us stories. Throughout our trip, we’ve mostly heard the stories of Palestinians so it was a different story to hear an Israelis side. For some, it was tough to hear and see. It seemed like a bit of a rationalizing and explanation for why Israelis think invading Palestine is ok. Many of us wanted to ask our guide questions about his opinion or story, but we didn’t.
In the afternoon, we went to Jericho-the oldest city- for lunch and the Dead Sea for swimming/floating. We were warned for safety to not put our heads under the water and to keep water out of our eyes and mouth. Many people had their feet sink into the mud. It was a fun time enjoying the water and one another’s presence.
The juxtaposition of the morning and the afternoon of this day was strange. The morning was sad and a chance to hear the other side. The afternoon was joy and laughter and water.