The emphasis on empathy at the New Holocaust History Museum in Jerusalem makes a visit emotionally draining, but intellectually vacuous.
by Nathalie Rothschild

I recently visited the New Holocaust History Museum at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. It is a powerful monument to the way in which history in general, and the immense atrocity of the Holocaust in particular, are today discussed and understood through emotionalism.

Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, was established in 1953 by an act of the Israeli Knesset. Where the old museum had a stronger focus on Jewish resistance in the Warsaw ghetto, the uprisings in Sobibor and Treblinka extermination camps, and the struggle of survivors to get to Palestine, the new museum presents personal accounts of the Holocaust. This makes a visit to the museum emotionally draining, but intellectually vacuous.

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