Today was arguably the most powerful and touching day of the trip. Emotions were evoked out of me that I didnt know existed and I felt pain rooted deep in my core. After breakfast, Mayanot 255 went to listen to the story of a holocaust survivor named Rosa.
She told us her story of survival in Nazi Germany and what she had to do to stay alive. It was an emotional story filled with passion, fear and inspiration. She told us how she was constantly on the run as she joined the Dutch Resistance in order to avoid being captured by the Nazis. As a nurse in the Dutch Resistance, she was able to help her fellow Jews as well as survive. She only had an hour to deliver her story, but she informed us of her book that she wrote called Tulips Are Red.
We then walked to Yad Vashem, which is the Memorial dedicated to the Holocaust. This ended up being one of the most utterly horrifying and eye-opening experiences of my life. From seeing the pure hatred that existed in Adolph Hitlers ideals to the videos of actual stories of Holocaust survivors, it was a truly humbling and terrifying experience.
The part of the memorial that really hit home was the towards the end of the building, where they showed a video of the thousands of malnourished and dead bodies being pushed by a snow-plow looking machine into pits. It was shocking, disgusting and unreal to see the inhumanity that existed in Nazi Germany. On top of that, I witnessed many of the Jews possessions that were recovered from the Holocaust, such as shoes and clothes and even more horrifying things like the tiny beds that the Jews were forced to sleep in.
Although I obviously knew what happened during the Holocaust, I never really knew the tragic details that happened in one of the most devastating genocides in the history of civilization. I witnessed firsthand the horrors that the Jews experienced in Nazi Germany through their stories that were played on TVs throughout the Memorial. I couldnt help being filled with emotion as these survivors talked about their helplessness, fear, death and tragedy that they experienced in the Ghettos, concentration camps and death camps.
After the tear-jerking experience, we walked over to Mount Hertzel, which is the Israeli military cemetery. It was another emotional moment for Mayanot 255 as Avinoam told us stories of three brave soldiers that paid the ultimate price for defending Israel.
It was hard to hear the stories of these soldiers because they died at such a young age.
After he emotional experiences, the day brightened with a trip to Avinoams mothers house, where we were treated to snacks and said our good byes to the Israeli soldiers that have been with us for the past week.
We then headed the Taglit Birthright Mega Event, where we got a speech from the Israeli Prime Minister, as well as some prominent Israeli artists. The night ended in a huge celebration as we partied with all the other Birthright groups that are currently in Israel.
Overall, it was one of the best days of the trip.