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Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum, Jerusalem, Israel

2005 by Moshe Safdie


Yad Vashem is a museum complex dedicated to Holocaust history, art, remembrance, and research.
Photograph of Yad Vashem museum entrance, man sweeping, overlooking Jerusalem

Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel, designed by architect Moshe Safdie, opened in 2005.

Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images, ©2005 Getty Images

The Yad Vashem Law of 1953 ensures the remembrance of Jews murdered during World War II. Assurance of a yad vashem, often translated from Isaiah 56:5 as a place and a name, is Israel's pledge to care for the memory of the millions who suffered and were lost, collectively and individually. Israel-born architect Moshe Safdie spent ten years working with officials to rebuild past efforts and develop a new, permanent homeland memorial.

Architect Moshe Safdie In His Own Words:

"And I proposed that we cut through the mountain. That was my first sketch. Just cut the whole museum through the mountain—enter from one side of the mountain, come out on the other side of the mountain—and then bring light through the mountain into the chambers."

"You cross a bridge, you enter this triangular room, 60 feet high, which cuts right into the hill and extends right through as you go towards the north. And all of it, then, all the galleries are underground, and you see the openings for the light. And at night, just one line of light cuts through the mountain, which is a skylight on top of that triangle. And all the galleries, as you move through them and so on, are below grade. And there are chambers carved in the rock—concrete walls, stone, the natural rock when possible—with the light shafts....And then, coming towards the north, it opens up: it bursts out of the mountain into, again, a view of light and of the city and of the Jerusalem hills."

Explore The Holocaust History Museum Architecture >>

Source: Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) presentation, On Building Uniqueness, March 2002

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