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Torah mantle with embroidered crown used for Bar Mitzvah at Theresienstadt

Object | Accession Number: 2005.517.4

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    Torah mantle with embroidered crown used for Bar Mitzvah at Theresienstadt


    Brief Narrative
    Torah mantle used for the Bar Mitzvah of thirteen year old Herbert Blau in July 1944 in the Theresienstadt ghetto in Czechoslovakia. The service was presided over by Rabbi Leo Baeck. Herbert's youth group gave him his own tin of sardines to celebrate the event. Herbert and his family were deported by the Germans from Vienna, Austria, in 1942. They lived in Terezin until the International Red Cross took over administration of the camp from the Germans on May 2, 1945. The family then was transferred to the Deggendorf displaced persons camp in Germany where they lived until their emigration to the United States in 1948.
    received:  1944 July
    use: Theresienstadt (concentration camp); Terezin (Ustecky kraj, Czech Republic)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Jeffrey A. Gordon
    Subject: Herbert Blau
    Herbert Blau was born on July 28, 1931, in Vienna, Austria. His father, Adolph, was a decorated, disabled World War II veteran who was a licensed tobacco vendor. His mother, Elsa, was a graduate of the Vienna Conservatory of Music. He had an older sister, Gertrude, born on March 14, 1925. They were an observant Jewish family. In March 1938, the Anschluss or the annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany occurred. Anti-Jewish legislation was enacted and the civil rights of Jews were dissolved. On August 13, 1942, the family was deported to Theresienstadt concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. The family was separated, as men and women were housed in separate barracks. Herbert contracted TB and another inmate, Ursula Pawel, shared the vitamins and food she received from her mother to help him recover. In 1944, Herbert was able to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah at a ceremony presided over by Rabbi Leo Baeck.
    On May 2, 1945, the Germans transferred administration of the camp to the International Red Cross. The family was sent to the Deggendorf displaced persons camp in Germany. Herbert received training as a locksmith and welder in the ORT (Organization for Rehabilitation through Training) vocational school. The family resided in the camp until November 1947 when, with the assistance of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, they were granted visas for the United States, where they settled in Vineland, New Jersey. Herbert passed away, age 54, in 1985.

    Physical Details

    Jewish Art and Symbolism
    Object Type
    Torah mantles (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Rectangular, white, wool Torah cover with white cotton lining. The bottom is open to insert the Torah and the top has 2 one inch openings near each edge for the Torah scrolls. There is a silk crown sewn near the top with a wide, embroidered outline in gold thread with a row for 7 white rhinestones, 1 missing, between 2 bands of embroidered sequins. Beneath the crown are 2 Hebrew characters embroidered in gold thread with embroidered, gold thread dots above.
    overall: Height: 24.125 inches (61.278 cm) | Width: 15.125 inches (38.418 cm)
    overall : wool, cotton, silk, metal, rhinestone, thread, paper
    front, center, embroidered in gold thread : ת כ [Torah Crown]

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The Torah mantle was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2005 by Jeffrey A. Gordon, the son of Gertrude Blau Gordon.
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-14 11:08:46
    This page:

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