| Yad LaYeled, a memorial to the 1.5
million Jewish children who perished in the Holocaust is located on the grounds
of Kibbutz Lohamei Haghetaot. Less well known than Yad Vashem,
this memorial focuses on the stories of children and is equally poignant.
Upon entering Yad LaYeled, one hears
young children telling their stories of horror, starvation, and fear. The
dichotomy of seeing images of children whose voices and faces should be telling
stories of escapades in the park, ice cream and dreams of the future against
that of actual survivors telling their personal stories, through video, about
their escapades to smuggle food for their families and their dreams of reunification
with their parents chills viewers to the bone.
The progression of the Holocaust is
shown as the visitor walks through recreated ghetto homes, listens to survivors
retell stories about their childhood, until reaching the railroad tracks to
the camps. The visit culminates in the Hall of Eternal Flame where testimonial
films of child survivors are shown.
The memorial is designed for young
visitors, aged nine and up. A particularly interesting feature of Yad LaYeled
are the activities to help children work through their impressions of the
Holocaust and the memorial and to help them balance what they have just witnessed
with the lives they lead.
The concept of a children’s museum
was conceived by Yitzhak `Antek’ Zuckerman, co-commander of the Warsaw Ghetto
Uprising and a founder of the Ghetto Fighter’s House.