Yad Vashem - A Name and a Memorial

The holocaust memorials I'd seen in Paris and Rotterdam were locally focussed. And visits to the Ann Frank House in Amsterdam and The Hiding Place in Haarlem tell the story through one person's experience. Here in Jerusalem there's a comprehensive, if somewhat overwhelming, overview of all of Europe. But it's that overview which adds perspective, and there's always something more to learn:
The seeds of anti-semitism date back to early Christendom; how Hitler developed his policy that the Jews 'should go'; the role of medics in euthanasia for disabled children, their expertise then transferred to the concentration camps; the majority of Jews were in Russia and Poland, but also significant numbers in North Africa; ghettoes were the creation of the authorities and seem to be the forerunners of the concentration camps; the forced marches when Germany's defeat seemed near.
Whilst the seeds of Zionism were sowed earlier, the holocaust obviously prompted the European powers to push ahead with creating a homeland for Jews in what was to become the state of Israel. Without it we might not have been visiting Israel today.
Two highlights for me - The Hall of Names, where the names of six million holocaust victims are recorded in volumes stacked around the walls in folders. And then the memorial to the 1.5 million children killed - a cavernous room, darkened, but with a light to represent each child. Eerie and moving. Children!
And a (horrible) quote to remember: 'Keep withholding the truth from them until they die!'
The visit stirred memories of elsewhere for me: forced relocations under South Africa's group areas act - we lived there while it happened. And of the 'communities' of India where the Dalits were forced to live outside the village, shoemakers together, sweepers together, scavengers together. Birds of a feather do flock together, but they may be forced together in cages.
Visits in Israel/Palestine in recent days, revealing restrictions on Palestinians and Jews to separate areas have shown that the concept of separation and isolation is alive and well nearby. I just hope this does not have an equally unhappy ending.
It seems appropriate to have visited Yad Vashem on Remembrance Sundayremembering those who gave themselves in the defence of freedom and to rid the world of the cause of the holocaust.
But perhaps most importantly, I need to keep a balanced approach to peoples of all kinds, and guard against anti-semitism and other forms of racism in myself. Let me work for peace, please!