Mariah Wilde is a third year Sociology undergraduate. For Holocaust Memorial Day Mariah shared with us her experience visiting Yad Vashem as part of the LSE interfaith trip to the Holy Land…
Before entering Yad Vashem there is a pathway leading to the museum named The Avenue of the Righteous among the Nations. It commemorates the noble acts of human kindness shown towards victims of the Holocaust by non-Jews. Not only did it highlight an appeal to the human condition, but also it showed how humbled nations of peoples could be after beautiful acts carried out generations ago.
As you walk along the pathway there are various plaques with the names of people from all around the world and their contribution.
This was paralleled in the meaning of the Carob trees planted along the pathway that represented seeds of peace being planted by previous generations still maintained over time. This was particularly profound because it was so peaceful and demonstrated just how dense an event it was.
It is often hard to conceive that such an atrocity occurred, especially on such a mass scale, but to think that there were glimmers of hope from others who were not directly subject to the same pain was a wonderful inclusion of the museum.
I’m mentioning this pathway because it is the first thing you see when entering Yad Vashem (and exploring what was in my experience the best museum solely focussing on the Holocaust that I’ve ever visited), but it’s also the last thing that you see after an emotionally testing space. It’s host to many painful stories victims, survivors and the strategy of perpetrators, but the pathway is what leads you out of the museum and intentionally reminds you about the responsibility we all have to respond to suffering when we see it.
Yad Vashem will always be a pertinent memory for me. My personal remembrance of one of the darkest episodes in human history will have this image of hope attached to it for years to come.
This trip was run in conjunction with the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel
With many thanks to the Annual Fund for their generous sponsorship of this trip