What Trump doesn't know: Yad Vashem edition

May 23 2017 Published by under Uncategorized


President Donald Trump [was scheduled] briefly visit Yad Vashem

Image result for yad vashem children's memorial jerusalem

Children's memorial

For those who don't know,Yad Vashem is the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. It is a very powerful place.

Thematic and Chronological Narrative

Remembering the lost


I noticed this report from the Forward. Like is not the right word, but :

The Jerusalem Post took an uncharacteristic snarky approach and produced a video demonstrating what Trump will be able to cover in 15 minutes at the 45-acre complex. The paper quoted Israeli officials saying that an hour and a half is the “bare minimum” needed for a visit to the museum.

I visited in Yad Vashem. Recently. It shook me to my core. I could write about Auschwitz  and about my thoughts about Jews in Eastern Europe during the Shoah (search my blog for the tag "holocaust").

I could not write about Yad Vashem. Even now, one of things I remember is that my cousin came up to me and said something, and I thought or said "but we've only been here for an hour" and she said "we've been here for over four hours".

Yad Vashem was a place I did not, where one does not, know time. Evidently Trump is immune to not knowing time, no matter what pious and sanctimonious words he mouths.

10 responses so far

  • David says:

    For those of us who haven't been, can you compare it to the holocaust museum in DC? My buddy and I went there, expecting to spend 2-4 hours, and ended up spending the whole day and were shaken for the entire evening. The train ride and dinner were spent mostly in silence just staring ahead. Amazingly powerful, educational, and heartbreaking. I imagine with 45 acre's it is ever more emotional.

    • potnia theron says:

      I have not yet been to US museum. I am rejoining Study Section this fall, and will have more time in DC, and will make an effort to go. In the past (many years ago), I'd get as far as the door, and then be unable to go in. I am braver now.

      • David says:

        I was naive to the emotional impact before I went in, I guess because I just didn't think about it. The museum wasn't even on my list of places to go for that trip, my buddy insisted. So glad I went. A really well done museum in my mind.

    • chall says:

      I've been to the Holocaust museum in DC and to Auschwitz, never visited Israel. My thoughts going into the Holocaust Museum in DC was impressive and very well done. The educational factor of how one thing led to another and you having your passport with you gave a lot of understanding and emotions. the train wagon and the shoes,hair and all the other displays bring the reality of what really happened close. The memorial and the rotunda where you can light a candle and reflect was beautiful and needed after going through the whole place.

      That said, to go through Auschwitz (I went in the summer where the grass grew under the sun and the wind rustled the tree leaves) was absolutely heart breaking and shook me to my core. I didn't know how much time we spent there until leaving. And we talked about it for days afterwards. Sitting down where so many people died and suffered. Seeing the cells, walking through the living quarters. And maybe for me at the time, realizing how close to the town the camp was. It was a different feeling than the museum. It was more of a memorial and a reminder that this can't happen again, compare to what I felt at the museum where it was more of "trying to educate people who weren't there that this can't happen again and being a memorial".

      Side note, my friend with me at the museum in DC hadn't been to Auschwitz and they were more emotional than me at the museum so maybe I was number from the first time?

      • David says:

        Thanks Chall. When I read the 45-acre detail on Yad Vashem, I pictured the experiences you had at Auschwitz. If I ever get to either location, I will definitely plan for a day of visiting.

        Similar to your experience at the museum, I went to the OKC bombing memorial a few months after visiting DC and found it underwhelming compared to the person I was with. It is also a well done museum, but the scope is not the same.

        • chall says:

          I wish that a lot of people could go and get guides. It's harder to fend yourself from the feelings when you listen to a person who has a tattooed number and tells about their experience from the holocaust.

          I was fortunate when in high school that we had survivors coming to my school giving talks and showing photos from the time and giving eye witness reports. It was upsetting but few people in the school could say "it's a lie" when the old people in front of us showed their arms and the photos. I'm scared what will happen in the future though, when so many people are ignorant and believing lies.

        • potnia theron says:

          If you do go to Auschwitz, try and get a guide who has a commitment to history and knowledge. I think you can wander on your own, but having a guide in your native language makes a significant difference to what you get out of it. This is especially true for Birkenau. Went I went to Yad Vashem, I was with my cousin, who lives in Jerusalem, and it was if I had my guide. Much of Yad Vashem is a museum, and a well curated museum. Auschwitz/Birkenau felt very different, and was of a different scope than a museum. But both left me drained.

  • chall says:

    As for going to Yad Vashem for 15 minutes. To me it feels like going to any memorial or historical site just for show since there is no way that you can get much from such a short visit. Then again, considering the base of Trumpkins I'm surprised he went at all. I almost thought he was going to Bethlehem or some other points in Jerusalem where Christianity are more on display....

    • potnia theron says:

      Spot on. To me the ultimate was that the (sympathetic) press made a big deal of how Trump's wife and daughter were the epitome of "female power" and didn't cover their heads in Saudi Arabia, and that they didn't wear head coverings in Israel, but wore head scarves when visiting the Pope. I found that disrespectful, especially if they were (allegedly) representing the US.

      • chall says:

        I can't even comment on the female power since it was so.... odd? fantasy? no real?

        The scarf discussion together with the clothes in general was a little bit complicated imho. It's like everyone has forgotten that most religions talk about covering the head in reverence to God. My grandmother (who grew up in pretty secular Sweden) would always have scarf/hat on her head going to church on a Sunday. And also going out in public in general since "she wasn't dressed without a head covering" as a married woman. Obviously people have forgotten that nowadays, but it's not that long ago and especially going to memorials, funerals, weddings or other "important occasions" - women wear hats/coverings (and men also).

        Overall the take home from the trip to me was "Trump and his family are doing photo ops"....

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