Yad Vashem Childrens’ Holocaust Memorial
Yad Vashem first approached Moshe Safdie in 1976 to design a memorial on a hillside to honour the memory of the 1.5 million children who perished in the Holocaust. Safdie proposed that the memorial could serve as a place of reflection after a visit to the main museum at Yad Vashem.
Entered through a natural rock archway, the memorial is underground. Descending a ramp carved into bedrock, one reaches a chamber buried within the hill. The archway entrance has recorded voices reading out the names of perished children. Inside, the octagonal room is dark but for the flame of a candle. Semi-reflective panels and mirrors multiply the single candle into an infinite halo.
One exits towards a widening view of the forested hills of Jerusalem. Marking the ground above the memorial’s interior, an octagonal outdoor amphitheatre echoes the shape of the space beneath. A series of monolithic stone pillars, the tallest of which reach the height of an adult, rises from the ground. Some are buried, and others, jagged against the sky, are randomly broken, symbolizing the abrupt ending of many young lives.