Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Yad Vashem

I got hold of the hard-bound “To Bear Witness – Holocaust Remembrance at Yad Vashem” by Bella Gutterman and Avner Shalev.

Shalev is the Chairman of Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority in Israel. Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum is the world's largest building that houses all about the Holocaust. Together with Gutterman, he created this book which I thought vividly essayed the years and events of difficulties, persecution and murder of the Jews, being victims of the Holocaust.

The book had me completely puzzled and wondering about three things:

1. How and why the Nazi came about to having a murderous frenzy to annihilate the Jewish race.

Damn with the belief that the Jews are of an inferior race. Everyone is created equal – whether you are black or white, or brown, or yellow, or any other Crayon color you can think of.

Murderers of Jesus Christ? In that case, the Nazi should have also persecuted the Italians – for we all know that the Roman Pontius Pilate presided over Christ’s judgment.

But as it is – World War II Germany and Italy were on the same side – belonging to the Axis, together with Japan.

2. Why the rest of the world at that time never intervened – were they not aware? Or they knew but looked the other way?

3. Why the Jews allowed this to happen to them.

Didn’t they have even the slightest hint that they were doomed for extermination. I do not want to think of the Jewish race as totally fatalistic - no one would happily accept death for no reason at all, not even for a noble cause.

And yes, there were resistance organizations led by brave Jewish fighters – struggling with all their might just to exist. But clearly, there was nothing major about these resistance movements. Well, not enough to be further fuelled into a full-blown revolution.

The horrors of the war, death camps, death marches, Final Solution, murdered innocent children, humiliation, degradation of humanity, unyielding Jewish Spirit, will to survive, human compassion, daring rescue of Jews, the Righteous Among the Nations, the fight for Israel’s Independence.

Indeed, the book speaks poignantly, even if in an eerie way, about this dark chapter of the Jewish People’s history. On the other hand, visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum helps you to personally understand this fateful chapter in Jewish history.

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