This post comes from second year undergraduate History student at the University of Gloucestershire Anna Cardy.
Over the summer I was fortunate to travel to Israel with the Holocaust Educational Trust as part of the Ambassador Study Visit 2017. I took part in an intensive week of workshops and seminars, as well as excursions to the Old City of Jerusalem, Masada, the Dead Sea and a visit to the British Ambassador.
The visit itself focused on different themes and areas of study that we may have not previously considered. Throughout the seminars and workshops, we explored the approach of the International School for Holocaust Studies and the schools of thought used, from Judaism and pre-war Jewish life, the persecution and murder of Jewish people, to the topic of perpetrators, as well as the consideration of modern anti-Semitism and Israeli society today.
Yad Vashem itself opened in 1953 and was set up to commemorate the 6 million Jews who perished in the Shoah and remember the culture that was lost. In addition it considers the roles of those who were willing to risk their lives throughout the course of WWII to save others known as ‘Righteous Among the nations’.
Throughout the grounds of Yad Vashem there are prominent and poignant memorials that acknowledge the various groups who perished as well as those individuals who risked everything in order to save the Jewish people in their local area. For me, the most prominent was the Hall of Names where the collections of testimonies are stored and the ceiling is made up of 600 photographs and pages of testimonies.
The visit was an unforgettable experience and for me has reiterated the importance of the remembering the Holocaust, as well as reminding of the possible consequences of prejudice and hate-filled sentiments. There are many things that stuck out on the visit but there is one image that I will end with. It was taken by one of the members of the group in the Old City, and a message of which we should all take note.
To read more about the Hall of Names, click here.