Thursday, October 26, 2006


Well, we made it. A thirteen hour trip to get from Cairo to Jerusalem. No problems except where to park the car in Taba - none of the big hotels were particularly helpful, something about issues with car bombs in the past...

Anyway, it's been wonderful catching up with Felicity's cousin and his family here, getting to know their kids and revisiting old haunts in the old city.

Something new though was to visit Yad Vashem, the holocaust museum. The building is incredible - a triangular shaped concrete corridor which you cross and recross as you make your way through the series of rooms to the sides. The guide book says you need two to three hours to go through, but I think we took about four. It is harrowing and horrifying in the extreme. Close to tears most of the way round, I found myself not being able to cope with the experience from time to time, particularly when looking at the Auschwitz reconstructions.

There was an Auschwitz survivor taking a group around, and to hear his stories first hand and to see the tattoo on his forearm made the exhibits much more than just a museum. Here was a guy who lost his whole family and yet survived himself to educate the next generation on this terrible episode of European history.

After the concentration camp exhibits, the corridor starts to slope uphill and the triangle widens out until it almost feels like the building expells you from the museum and you find yourself on this cantilevered parapet overlooking Jerusalem, at the mouth of the triangle. What a sense of hope and yet responsibility to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.

No comments: