Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Pair of tefillin and pouch owned by a German Jewish man

Object | Accession Number: 2016.538.2 a-d

A pair of tefillin and pouch owned by a male member of Ilse Brilling or Horst Abraham’s family, and carried from Germany to Ecuador in the late 1930s. Tefillin are small boxes containing prayers attached to leather straps and worn by Orthodox Jewish males during morning prayers. Following Adolf Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor of Germany in January 1933, anti-Jewish decrees and persecution made life in Germany increasingly difficult. Horst Abraham immigrated to Quito, Ecuador, from Leipzig, Germany, in 1937, after hearing a rumor that he might be arrested. His parents, Nanette and David, and one of his two brothers, Kurt, joined him there later. In 1939, Ilse Brilling left Rastenburg, Germany and immigrated to Chambo, Ecuador with her parents, Hedwig and Isidor, and older sister, Hilde. Ilse’s father died that same year, and the family moved twice before settling in Quito in 1942, where she met Horst. The couple married on March 3, 1944, and had their first child in 1946. Ilse, Horst, and their other family members living in Ecuador immigrated to the United States in the mid-to-late 1940s and settled in the New York City area. Horst changed his name to Harry, and got a job working in a meatpacking factory owned by his distant relatives. Many members of their extended families were not able to escape from Europe and died during the Holocaust.

emigration:  after 1937-1939 May
acquired: Germany.
en route: Ecuador.
Jewish Art and Symbolism
Object Type
Tefillin (lcsh)
Ceremonial objects.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Ruth Abraham
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 18:16:29
This page: