When you are in Jerusalem there is no way you could not go to Yad Vashem, which is the Center for Holocaust Commemeration here. The museum is located at the edge of the city in the woods and it is surrounded by a park with lots of memorials for the victims of the Holocaust. Entrance is for free.
Even before we were going to Yad Vashem I already felt kind of oppressed: a German going to the Jewish Country to the Holocaust Museum. There was nothing really new to Kati and me. We read about all this before, which actually was a surprise to our Israeli friends. They even admitted that we probably have the bigger knowledge about the whole Holocaust thing.
It was also very interesting to see how people were experiencing Yad Vashem. Some were rushing through it, rather superficially interested. Some took a lot of time, some were crying. I am almost sure that most of the people I saw crying in the museum have been German. I was struggling myself not to fall in tears. I did not succeed. It’s a strange thing when you are in a museum in foreign country which shows the horror that people are able to do and you can read all the samples, because it is in your own language.
The building of the museum is shaped as a triangular tunnel. There are no windows, just above you, the peak of the triangle is made out of glass. In the beginning it’s rather dark and the closer you get to the end of the exhibition, the brighter it gets. When you exit the museum you will find yourself on a platform with a beautiful view over Jerusalem.
Kati and me spend more than four hours in the museum and some more time outside at the memorials. It was an emotionally exhausting day.
In the evening we met Noa, my Israeli friend from Jerusalem and some friends of her in a bar. They said it was the IN place in Jerusalem right now. I can not remember the name, but it was close to Mahane Yehuda and its name translated to English means neighbors.
There we were: Kati and me and a bunch of Israelis together at one table. There is nothing more bizarre than crying in Yad Vashem during the day and having drinks at night with Israeli friends while joking about German, Israeli, Arab and Jewish stereotypes. I feel very lucky about it. Very lucky.