A U.S. army copy of the Haggadah and a pocket Siddur are among the unique artefacts to be exhibited in Yad Vashem’s new campus.
They are among thousands of items collected by Yad Vashem over the last eight years through an appeal for personal effects and documents to record personal stories behind the Holocaust.
Yad Vashem has unveiled the unique stories behind artefacts to be displayed at its Shoah heritage campus, expected to open in the summer of 2021.
Among the objects is a U.S. Army printed copy of the Haggadah, which was donated to Yad Vashem by its owner’s son-in-law for posterity.
The book was found among the personal effects of the late Shoah survivor Yaakov Stern, but it is not known how he came to have it.
It was used by Allied soldiers and Jews fighting in the Italian resistance at a Passover Seder held on a British Army base in Italy in April 1944.
The soldiers present at the seder signed their names on the inside of the book, pictured above.
Another item is a pocket Siddur which belonged to Kindertransport Martin Weil, who was the only member of his family to survive after he fled to Birmingham from Berlin in 1939.
It is one of the last remaining mementos remaining from his family home, after his parents Solly and Harriet Weil and four siblings were deported to the Terezin ghetto and then to Auschwitz.
Another item donated to Yad Vashem is a copy of the Haggadah which belonged to Głogów-born Kindertransport Esther Golan (née Ursula Dobkowsky).
“I left Germany on the last day of Passover, so my father gave me a gift, the Haggadah that belonged to his great-grandfather,” Golan said. “Each year we read from it. Years later I gave it to my son when I visited Auschwitz.”
Golan fled to Scotland on the Kindertransport at the age of 15 in April 1939, with her younger sister escaping to England several months later.
Their parents were deported to Terezin Ghetto in 1942, where her father died, and her mother was deported to Auschwitz and murdered in May 1943.
A few months after leaving Germany, Golan’s family sent her package, including a small basket and napkins belonging to her grandmother Bertha Oppenheimer, a parchment with her grandfather’s wedding song written on it, and several books.
A cornerstone-laying ceremony will be held on May 2 for the Shoah Heritage Campus, which will aim to preserve artifacts and testimonies.