In Warsaw ghetto model, Holocaust horror paced out

Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:04am EST
 
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By Rinat Harash

YAD MORDECHAI, Israel (Reuters) - Survivors of one the darkest episodes of the Nazi-era have turned to light-and-sound shows and walk-through mockups in the hope their memories will not fade away into the history books.

At the "From Holocaust to Revival" museum in southern Israel, a scale model of the Warsaw ghetto shows where its Jews rose up against Hitler's troops in mid-1943, engaging in frantic house-to-house fighting in a bid to halt deportations to death camps.

The revolt marked the only significant armed Jewish resistance to Nazi oppression during World War II, but it was crushed with the loss of several thousand Jewish lives. Many of the Ghetto's remaining 50,000 plus inhabitants were sent to the gas chambers, becoming part of the 6 million killed by the Nazis.

Guided by veterans of the revolt, visitors can pace out a reconstructed bunker with a secret toilet access, pack into a railway car recalling those that hauled Jews to death camps, or have yellow Stars of David projected onto their chests.

Such passing impressions of the Holocaust have stirred concern in at least one Israeli commentator, who wondered in the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper whether the "Disneyland approach" was too trivial.

Warsaw ghetto survivor Aliza Melamed said displays of the kind at the museum in Kibbutz Yad Mordechai were necessary to appeal to those for whom the horrors were not a living memory.

"We look more at the contents and we don't need stimulating experiences like projections of yellow stars and all kinds of major sound effects. But I understand we do this for teenagers," she said.

"I accepted it because I guess this is the way in today's world, to reach people."   Continued...

 
<p>Matityahu Mintz looks at a model of the Warsaw Ghetto displayed at the "From Holocaust to Revival" museum in Kibbutz Yad Mordechai in southern Israel January 18, 2011. Survivors of one the darkest episodes of the Nazi-era have turned to light-and-sound shows and walk-through mockups in the hope their memories will not fade away into the history books. At the museum, a scale model of the Warsaw ghetto shows where its Jews rose up against Hitler's troops in mid-1943, engaging in frantic house-to-house fighting in a bid to halt deportations to death camps. Picture taken January 18, 2011. REUTERS/Amir Cohen</p>