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Mezuzah in a copper metal case used by a Jewish refugee family

Object | Accession Number: 1992.8.26

Mezuzah and case that belonged to Isaac Ossowski, a prominent member of the Jewish community in Berlin, Germany, who emigrated in 1938 to avoid the increasing persecution of Jews by the government of Nazi Germany. According to the Torah, every doorpost in a Jewish home should display a mezuzah, a small parchment scroll inscribed with two chapters from Deuteronomy, including the Shema, a central prayer of Judaism and the source of this law. The scroll is enclosed in a case so that it can be affixed to the right doorpost. It serves as a reminder of the covenant of faith and a notice that this is an observant Jewish home. Rabbi Ossowski was head shochet [ritual slaughterer], mohel [practitioner of ritual circumcision], sofer [scribe], and hazan [canter or musical prayer leader] at the Alte Shul [Old Synagogue]. After Hitler was appointed Chancellor in 1933, increasingly severe sanctions were enacted against Jews. Isaac was repeatedly questioned by the SS (Schutzstaffel; Protection Squadrons) who gathered intelligence on opponents of the Nazi state and policed racial purity. In 1934, he sent his youngest son, 14 year old Sally (Sol), to Lithuania to study at a yeshiva. In 1936, his sons, Joseph and Leo, left for the United States. In 1938, Isaac and his wife, Frida, and their daughter, Nettie, escaped Nazi Germany and joined Joseph in the US. Sol joined them there in 1939.

use:  1910-1938
emigration:  1938
use: Berlin (Germany)
Jewish Art and Symbolism
Object Type
Mezuzah (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Sol Oster
Record last modified: 2021-12-10 07:34:06
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