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Book of Esther

Object | Accession Number: 2004.482.1

Megillah (Book of Esther) from the former synagogue in Zülz, Germany (now Biała Prudnicka, Poland). The synagogue burned down on November 9, 1938, during Kristallnacht. The handwritten scroll tells the Biblical story of Esther, a Queen of Persia, who saved the Jewish people from a massacre planned by an advisor to the King. The story is read aloud on the Jewish holiday of Purim. Historically, the town of Zülz had a large Jewish population, and a sizeable brick synagogue was built in 1774, after the previous one burned down. The new synagogue was one of the largest in Germany at the time of its construction, and the scroll was kept there. However, the Jewish population began to decline, and by World War I (1914-1918) there were only a few Jews left in Zülz. In 1914, the religious items and Torah scrolls were transferred to Neustadt in Oberschlesien (now Prudnik, Poland), and the synagogue was sold. The Hirschberg (later Harter) family included Harry, his wife Lenore, and children, Donald and Dorothy. They lived in Breslau, Germany (now Wrocław, Poland), and were descended from Jews who left Zülz. Harry was a doctor, but increasing persecution from the Nazi authorities forced him to flee to Cuba in 1938. On November 9–10, 1938, Nazi leaders unleashed a wave of violence against the German Jewish population. The Kristallnacht pogrom was one of the most violent and widespread acts of persecution. Jews were attacked, and their residences, businesses, and places of worship were destroyed, including the synagogue in Zülz. The rest of Harry’s family escaped to Cuba in 1939, and the entire family immigrated to the United States in 1940.

use:  before 1939
use: Prudnik (Poland); Biala (Wojewodztwo Opolskie, Poland)
Jewish Art and Symbolism
Object Type
Scrolls (lcsh)
Religious articles.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Donald H. Harter
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 18:10:56
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