Last week in my reflection on the movie The Zone of Interest, I wrote about my experience visiting the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem when I was in the Holy Land in 2008 with other clergy from the Diocese of Huron.  The experience left a lasting impact on me and has been on my mind frequently in the past week especially as I reflect on what is happening in Gaza and the war between Israel and Hamas.

The horror of the attack by Hamas on Israeli citizens on October 7, 2023, was the most devastating for Israel since the horrors which were depicted in the Museum.  It is helpful in understanding the response by Israel to that day.   Here are some of my reflections in response to that visit.

  • Children’s memorial  - devastating in its simplicity and stark realization that 1.5 million children died before they could really live.  The building is in the shape of the pyramid.  Inside the stars shine in the sky to represent the children.  The names, age and nationality are recited over the loudspeaker in English and Hebrew.  We are asked to remember one child, Shomo Klien, age 14.


  • We are led through exhibits, documentaries, and testimonials of those who survived.  The starkest was the mountain of shoes – a dark testimony to what became of the people who wore them? 


  • Lodz Ghetto – Mordeci Run Kowski, the Ghetto President, was forced to choose.  Anyone who could not work lost the right to live.  Anyone under ten lost the right to live.  The elderly and the sick lost the right to live.  They were chosen, thousands demanded by the Nazis.  Mothers are forced to give up their children.  Many didn’t. The agony of having to make such a choice and forcing such choices on parents.  If he did not decide the Nazis would and chose more.


  • Dream of Abramek Kaplowics age 14 murdered at Auschwitz:

When I grow up and get to be twenty, I’ll travel and see the world of plenty.  In a bird with an engine, I will set myself down, take off and fly into space, far above the ground.  I’ll fly, I’ll cruise and soar high above the world so lovely in the sky. And so delighted by all the world’s charms, into the heavens I will take off and not have a bother.  The cloud is my sister, the wind my brother.

  • Flames in the Ashes, an excerpt from a film by Chaim Guriand Jaque Erlich.  A carnival with acrobats performing over a beautiful Sunday afternoon outside Auschwitz.


With all this that must overwhelm visitors with the impact of that horror, I cannot help but ask, what if another name was added to names of the innocents broadcast at the entrance to the Museum – the name of one of the children killed in the war on Hamas: Abdul Rahman Alaa Imad Al-Ajl (age 2 years)? 

May all the innocent who have died in war be remembered and be blessed.