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Pair of tefillin and bag given to a Czechoslovakian Jewish man by a U.S. Army chaplain

Object | Accession Number: 2018.297.3 a-e

Pair of tefillin and an embroidered velvet pouch given to Bernat Berkowitz (later, Berk) by a U.S. Army chaplain while he was in a displaced persons facility in Germany between May 1946 and December 1947. Tefillin are small boxes containing prayers attached to leather straps and worn by Orthodox Jewish males during morning prayers. Bernat lived with his parents and three younger brothers in Chust, Czechoslovakia, when the region was annexed by Hungary with the aid of Germany in 1939. On April 20, 1944, the entire family (except Bernat’s brother, Herman, who was an apprentice in Budapest) were forced into a ghetto in Chust, and then deported to Auschwitz concentration camp in German-occupied Poland. Bernat’s parents, Regina and Israel, and youngest brother, Isik, were killed soon after their arrival, while Bernat and his brother, Samuel, were separated and both sent to numerous camps. Bernat was sent to Fünfteichen and Mauthausen, where he was liberated by American forces on May 5, 1945. After the war, Bernat reunited with Samuel and Herman in Czechoslovakia. In August, Samuel immigrated to London and then to the United States, while Bernat and Herman lived in the Pocking displaced persons (DP) camp in the American zone of Germany. While there, both brothers contracted tuberculosis and were treated in multiple facilities until they were transferred to the Etania Jewish Sanatorium in Davos, Switzerland, in December 1947. While in Davos, Bernat met Adela (Ada) Kochanski, a fellow Holocaust survivor, who was also receiving treatment for tuberculosis. In the fall of 1948, Bernat married Ada. In 1949, Herman immigrated to Australia, and in 1950, Bernat and Ada followed him there before moving to the United States around 1954.

Date
after 1946 May-before 1947 December  (received)
Geography
received : Germany
Language
Hebrew
Classification
Jewish Art and Symbolism
Object Type
Tefillin (lcsh)
Genre/Form
Ceremonial objects.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Steve, Linda, and Amanda Berk
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Record last modified: 2019-02-11 06:58:49
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn620109