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Embroidered black velvet tefillin pouch owned by a Jewish immigrant

Object | Accession Number: 2012.72.9

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    Brief Narrative
    Black velvet tefillin bag with a cross stitched design and Hebrew text used by Samuel Eckstein, who immigrated to the United States from Ratno, Russia (Ratne, Ukraine) in 1908, and settled in Colorado. Tefillin are small boxes that contain prayers that are attached to leather straps and worn by Orthodox Jewish males during morning prayers. Samuel was joined in 1912 by his wife, Edna (Yetta) Kwasznik Eckstein, and their young son.
    emigration:  1908
    creation:  1897
    use: Denver (Colo.)
    creation: Ratne (Ukraine)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Samuel Veta
    Subject: Samuel Eckstein
    Shlomo (Samuel) Eckstein was born about January 15, 1878, in Ratno, Russia (Ratne, Ukraine) to a Jewish family. He married Yetta (Yitke) Kwasznik on June 15, 1906. Yetta was born approximately June 26, 1885, in Ratno to a Jewish family. She had a younger brother Motel, born in 1888. A son, Edmund (Edward), was born in the fall of 1907. The next year, Samuel immigrated to the United States, sailing from Hamburg, Germany, and arriving in New York on May 25, 1908. He settled in Denver, Colorado. Yetta and Edmund joined him there in 1921. Yetta began to use the name Edna. Samuel was a laborer and eventually a driver with the Teamsters union. The couple had four more children: Rebecca, (April 16, 1913- September 12, 1971), Annie born 1915, Isadore, born 1918, and Abraham, born 1922. Rebecca (Betty) married Leo Veta and they adopted an infant girl and, in 1950, an infant boy, whom they named Samuel. Samuel’s biological mother, Ruth Haneman, had fled Nazi Germany with her family for Shanghai, China. Both her parents died in Shanghai in 1943, leaving sixteen year old Ruth responsible for her younger siblings. Samuel, age 68, died on March 9, 1946. Edna, age 92, died on January 12, 1977.

    Physical Details

    Jewish Art and Symbolism
    Object Type
    Tefillin bags (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Black velvet, rectangular, well worn tefillin pouch with a brown, cloth lining. The open end with a channel for a drawstring closure is the bottom. The front is embroidered on 3 sides with a floral border of multicolored flowers and vines, with Hebrew text in the center of the bag. The back is embroidered with a bird perched on a leafy branch bearing red cherries and the year in cross stitch, within a floral border with a purple vine and red, yellow and white leaves. There are some stains, holes, fading, and an open seam on the left side.
    overall: Height: 10.625 inches (26.988 cm) | Width: 7.500 inches (19.05 cm)
    overall : velvet, cloth, thread
    back, bottom, on opposite sides of pouch, embroidered, red thread : 18 97
    front, center, embroidered, red thread : םש לא (Samuel)
    front, center, embroidered, red thread : אל רא רב (In God’s Glory)

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The tefillin bag was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2012 by Samuel Veta, the grandson of Samuel Eckstein.
    Record last modified:
    2022-08-02 16:34:54
    This page:

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