Glimpses of Israel - Yad V'Shem

by Joseph Hunting

Yad V'Shem, literally Hand and Name, means Memorial and Name, as in Isaiah 56:5, where we read: "Even unto them will I give in My house, and within My walls a place and a name ..."

A visit to Yad V'Shem in Jerusalem is indeed unforgettable -- it is difficult to find words that adequately convey one's emotions at this memorial to the centuries of Jew-hate that boiled up into one gargantuan cauldron of human suffering on a scale never before perpetrated on a people.

High in the wind-swept Judean Hills, the bronze statue "The Silent Cry" reflects the anguish of the Holocaust at the Yad V'Shem memorial. The sculpture is one of many art works at Yad V'Shem which was established by an act of Israel's parliament in 1953. Here are gathered commemoration of the individuals and communities that perished during World War II. It is the largest archive of its kind in the world.

Another important function of the memorial is an on-going search to locate and honour non-Jews who risked their lives to help Jewish people survive.

The approach to Yad V'Shem is along an avenue of trees dedicated to these "Righteous Gentiles". The lonely figure of "Rachel weeping for her children" and the bas-relief by the entrance; the eternal flame within the marble and the memorabilia from a thousand sources, help to focus one's mind on the immensity of Israel's suffering.

Yet it is ironical that within a few years of Hitler's boast to annihilate the Jewish race, his much-vaunted thousand-year Reich lay a smouldering heap, whilst the Star of David again fluttered over the reborn Jewish State, Israel, soon to celebrate its fortieth anniversary.