In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 15, 2005 /4 Adar II, 5765

Israel's new Holocaust museum taps writings, artworks for insight

By Joel Greenberg

Pictures of Jews killed in the Holocaust at one of the sections of the newly-constructed Holocaust memorial museum, Yad Vashem. Today an international delegation will attend its inauguration
Printer Friendly Version

Email this article

JewishWorldReview.com |

JERUSALEM — Near the entrance to Israel's new Holocaust History Museum, a collection of snapshots, some with charred edges, is displayed against the backdrop of a grisly scene: the partly burned bodies of Jews killed by the Nazis and local collaborators in Estonia in September 1944.

The snapshots, found in the pockets of the victims, show images of a vanished world — family photos, soccer teams lined up for a group picture, people at the beach.

The display underscores the declared mission of the new museum, to tell the story of the Holocaust from the perspective of the Jewish victims, using objects they left behind, their writing and artwork to narrate the events.

The museum is to be formally inaugurated today in the presence of Israeli and foreign dignitaries, including United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The event promises to be an assertion of what Israel sees as its leading role in international Holocaust commemoration.

A $40 million, decade-long project, the museum is the centerpiece of an ambitious expansion of Yad Vashem, Israel's national Holocaust memorial, a 45-acre campus of monuments and museums on a pine-clad mountain on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

The new museum, a concrete, prism-shaped structure that bores through the mountain, was designed by internationally known architect Moshe Safdie. The structure is part of a complex that also includes a Holocaust art museum, a study center, a synagogue and a new Hall of Names, housing the retrieved names and biographical details of Jewish victims.

In contrast with the current Yad Vashem historical museum, which is more than 30 years old and whose exhibits consist mainly of black-and-white photos and texts, the new museum is a multimedia experience. It uses drawings, diaries and letters by the victims, personal belongings, video testimonies of survivors, video art and reconstruction of scenes from the period to convey a vivid sense of the events.

Avner Shalev, chairman of Yad Vashem and chief curator of the new museum, said it was designed to use new technologies to inform a new generation of visitors, accommodate more people and present the Holocaust in a more personal way.

"We wanted a museum that will tell the history of the Holocaust while balancing between knowledge, experience and emotion, which together is the essence of a good museum," Shalev said.

The idea is to "give the victims a face and a name, to tell their personal stories, so the victims are looking at us eye-to-eye," he added. "We want to build up empathy and identification, a personal dialogue with the subject."

There are 90 personal stories told through the exhibits.

In one room there is a postcard thrown from a train by Ester Frankel, a French Jew killed in the Auschwitz death camp, in which she pleads to see her 2-year-old son, Richard, who was left behind.

In another hall are the braids of a 12-year-old Romanian Jewish girl, Lili Hirsch, cut by her mother and left with neighbors for safekeeping before deportation.

Other exhibits show personal possessions of the victims: a pile of shoes, bits of necklaces, rings and watches.

In one area a typical living room of a German Jewish home is re-created, its comfortable interior reflecting a sense of well-being that contrasts sharply with scenes visible through a window: streets filled with Nazi flags and signs calling for a boycott of Jewish businesses.

There also is a re-creation of a street from the Warsaw Ghetto, complete with original cobblestones, street lamps and tram tracks brought from Poland. In another room there are original prisoner bunks from the Auschwitz and Majdanek camps.

Large panels display excerpts from letters and diaries.

"My only child was taken away for work yesterday," an excerpt on one panel says. "I don't know where they took him. Only G-d knows what I'm going through."

Yehudit Inbar, director of the museums division at Yad Vashem and curator-in-charge at the new museum, said a major challenge facing her team was to overcome the alienated approach to the victims in Nazi photos and films, which form the bulk of the visual documentation of the Holocaust.

"The German pictures showed the Jews as an object of brutalization or murder, as if they were members of a tribe of savages," Inbar said. "We tried to find out who these people were, where they came from, what did they do before the war. Suddenly they come to life, they looked entirely different, as if you have given them an identity."

The prominent display of artwork by victims and some color photos are meant to offset traditional black-and-white images of the Holocaust, Inbar said.

"When you ask people to close their eyes and think of the Holocaust, most see it in black and white, and when you see it that way, you can dismiss it as something from another time, another culture, another planet that has nothing to do with us," Inbar said. "But the Holocaust was in color, and when you show it that way, it suddenly brings it very close to us. It happened in our civilization, not long ago. It makes it relevant."

While Yad Vashem officials say the museum was built to meet new needs, some critics have suggested that its real purpose is to assert Israel's primacy in Holocaust commemoration after the opening of similar museums abroad, most prominent among them the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

"I see it as a statement by the state of Israel that the largest Holocaust museum cannot be in Washington or Berlin, but only in Jerusalem, and it expresses the feeling that Israel has a monopoly on the Holocaust, and this is important in order to emphasize the Zionist lessons of the Holocaust," said Tom Segev, an Israeli journalist and historian.

"In recent years the Holocaust has become a universal code for evil, but ... we are holding on to the Holocaust as if it is only ours and teaches us that we need a state, and the state has to be strong, and we have to be strong. This museum is an attempt to reclaim the Holocaust for ourselves after it slipped a bit from our hands."

Shalev, the Yad Vashem chairman, said the new museum consciously focuses on Jewish victims and tells their particular story, "which is the way it should be done in Jerusalem." But he asserted that telling the Jewish story was the most effective way to convey broader lessons about the meaning of the Holocaust for humanity at large.

"I do believe that only a very particular story can convey a universal message," he said.

Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

To comment, please click here.

© 2005, Chicago Tribune. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.