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Set of tefillin found postwar by a young Polish Jewish survivor

Object | Accession Number: 1992.169.3 b-c

Red velvet bag found by 9 year old Yaffa Sonenson in Berlin in 1945. It stored a set of tefillin, 1992.169.3 b-c, prayer boxes worn by Jewish males during services. On June 23, 1941, the town, Eisiskes, where Yaffa lived with her parents Moshe and Zipporah, a newborn, and an older brother, 9 year old son Yitzhak, was occupied by German troops. When the Germans encouraged celebration of the Jewish New Year that September, her father was suspicious and sent Yaffa and Yitzhak to their Polish housekeeper. A few days later, Lithuanian collaborators rounded up the Jews. On September 25-26, the Lithuanians and German mobile killing units slaughtered them. Moshe and Zipporah, with the baby, escaped. Yaffa and Yitzhak were retrieved by Moshe and reunited with Zipporah in Radun. On May 10, 1942, Moshe learned of German plans to destroy the ghetto. He found a hiding place, but those already there said the baby put them at risk of discovery; he was smothered and died. When they emerged from hiding, the streets were littered with dead bodies. Moshe moved his family from hiding place to hiding place until July 1944, when the region was freed by Soviet troops. They returned to Eisiskes. Soon after, young members of the Polish Home Army invaded their home and killed Zipporah and her 1 year old son. That December, Moshe was denounced to the Soviets by other Jewish survivors and sentenced to forced labor for life. Yaffa later located Moshe's brother, Shlomo, and was able to go with him to Palestine in April 1946.

Date
1945  (found)
Geography
found : Berlin (Germany)
Classification
Jewish Art and Symbolism
Object Type
Tefillin (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Yaffa Eliach
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Record last modified: 2018-01-11 14:25:46
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn5996