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Green striped sateen tefillin pouch hidden and recovered postwar by a Czech Jewish family

Object | Accession Number: 2004.446.3

Green sateen bag used to store tefillin by Eduard Menzer, hidden and then recovered after the war by his wife, Aurelia. Tefillin are small boxes with leather straps used by Orthodox Jewish males during morning prayers. The family was living in hiding in the Tatra mountains when, on December 13, 1944, German soldiers burst into the hut where Eduard was saying morning prayers. They yanked off his tallit and tefillin, threw them to the ground, and arrested Eduard. His wife, Aurelia, and daughters had run off, but later returned for the tefillin and pouch. They moved to another hiding place where Aurelia hid the items in a feedbag in a stable. In 1942, Eduard, Aurelia, and their three children: Alfred, age 15, Herta (Iris), age 14, and Mira, age 4, were evicted from their home in Bratislava by the fascist government of Slovakia because they were Jews. In 1943, the family was deported to Novaky forced labor camp, except for Alfred, who was sent to a labor camp in Hungary. In August 1944, after the failure of the Slovak National Uprising, the Novaky prisoners were released and the family fled to the Tatra mountains. Eduard was executed on January 9, 1945. The region was liberated in March 1945. Aurelia retrieved the tefillin and pouch and returned to Nitra. After the war ended in May 1945, Alfred rejoined them, having survived Auschwitz and Bunzlau concentration camps. Herta and Alfred soon left for Palestine; Aurelia and Mira arrived in Israel in 1949.

use:  before 1944 December 14
recovered:  after 1945 March
recovery: Banska Bystrica (Slovakia)
Jewish Art and Symbolism
Object Type
Tefillin bags (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Iris Herta Avni-Menzer
Record last modified: 2022-08-23 15:02:05
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