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April 18, 2012April 18, 2012  1 comments  Events


Six million trees in memory of the Holocaust victims have been planted since the 1950's by Karen Kayemeth LeIsrael, KKL-JNF. The most famous monument in the Hakdoshim Forest outside of of Jerusalem  is the "Scroll of Fire", two large bronze cylinders that represent the destruction and rebirth of Israel.


Within the forest there is a memorial to Anne Frank, who perhaps more than anyone else, represents the horrors of the Holocaust for many people. The Anne Frank Memorial, a gift from KKL-JNF Holland, was inaugurated in Hakdoshim Forest on May 2, 2011, on Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day. The monument is located near the B'nai B'rith tomb.


Anne Frank (1929-1945) hid in Amsterdam with her family during the German occupation of the Netherlands and died in Bergen-Belsen in 1945. Miep Gies, a family friend, found Anne's diary and gave it to her father after the war. It became one of the most widely read books in the world. In the diary Anne mentions looking out from her hiding place and seeing a chestnut tree.


In her diary Anne wrote about the chestnut tree she saw through the cracks, this influenced Pete Cohen, creator of the monument. He wanted to demonstrate Anne's longing for freedom from her hiding place, to do so he created a sculpture in the form of a room made of rusted steel. In the corner of the structure sits an uncomfortably high stool, from where the viewer can see an engraved image of the famed chestnut tree which Anne Frank wrote about so lovingly in her diary. The viewing experience is meant to recreate the feeling of imprisonment, isolation and discomfort while looking longingly through a window at the world outside.


A three mile trail connects Anne Frank's monument with the "Scroll of Fire" monument. This path is steep so it is recommended to walk downhill from the "Scroll of Fire" monument to Anne Frank's memorial.

How to get there? From Highway 1 (Tel Aviv - Jerusalem) turn south to Highway 38  toward Bet Shemesh. Turn left slightly before Eshta'ol Junction onto a marked dirt road to Martyrs Forest. (All terrain vehicles are suitable for driving toward the Martyrs Cave.) To get to the Scroll of Fire Memorial proceed and turn left (east) at Eshta'ol Junction to Highway 395 (to Ramat Raziel). Continue until the sign that says to turn right to Kisalon, and the road will soon branch off to the Scroll of Fire Memorial.



May 1, 2011May 1, 2011  0 comments  Jewish Holidays

I just returned this evening from the Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony held annually on this third to last day of the month of Nissan. I've been to six ceremonies since moving to Israel six years ago, and despite everything I know about the Holocaust (and being the child of a survivor I do know quite a bit) I'm always newly shocked by the stories that I hear from other survivors.


Each year, the city of Ra'ananna organizes a powerful hour of programming in commemoration of the Holocaust. Amidst the moving vocal tributes, six Holocaust survivors are individually escorted by young students to the outdoor stage at the city's Yad Labanim (city center) where they light six candles, each candle representing one million Jews who perished in the hands of the Nazis. As each survivor walks slowly to the stage to light his candle, a narrator tells the survivor's story. One woman, Lily, survived years of moving from camp to camp with little food, while everyone else in her family, excepting one sister, was torn away from her and murdered in the gas chambers. Lily  managed to emigrate to Israel on a boat, the Exodus, where she met her husband. Together they bore two boys, both of which became Israeli Airforce pilots, and are still flying today. The audience cheered, and I had chills going down my spine.


The other five survivors honored tonight all had similar stories of survival. They all had bore children, grandchildren and several even had great grandchildren. Each had succeeded in defying the Nazis and while they all had lost most of their families, they'd somehow managed to create new lives for themselves, lives filled with children, hope and a Jewish future.


Life continues and hopefully the world will also remember. We remembered tonight, as we do each day here in Israel.


Tomorrow, May 2, at 10 am there will be a two minute siren and people all over the country will stop whatever they are doing be it driving a car, washing dishes, teaching in a school, they will stop. And they will stand in silence for two full minutes. We remember, because we have to remember.


Last year, one of our contributors Kasey Bar, authored a very moving blog about Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel, and she provided her insight as a Christian living here. If you missed it - now is the time to reread this very special article. Click here to read Kasey Barr's Silence that Overpowers


Elisa Moed is the Founder and CEO of Travelujah, the leading Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land.


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