Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Circumcision knife with a glass and metal handle with a black wooden case used by a mohel

Object | Accession Number: 1992.8.30 a-b

Ritual circumcision [milah] knife and case used by Isaac Ossowski, a highly respected mohel who left Berlin because of the targeted persecution of Jews by the government of Nazi Germany. A mohel is a person qualified to perform the brit (bris) milah, the ritual circumcision of a male, Jewish child. The training includes both the medical procedures and extensive knowledge of Jewish laws and traditions. Rabbi Ossowski was a prominent member of the Jewish community in Berlin. He was head shochet [ritual slaughterer], mohel [practioner of ritual circumcision], sofer [scribe], and hazan [cantor or musical prayer leader] at the Alte Shul [Old Synagogue]. After Hitler was appointed Chancellor in 1933, increasingly severe sanctions were enacted against Jews. The Ossowski family was repeatedly questioned by the SS (Schutzstaffel; Protection Squadrons) who gathered intelligence on opponents of the Nazi state and policed racial purity. In 1934, Isaac sent his youngest son, 14 year old 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.

1938  (emigration)
approximately 1910-1938  (use)
use : Berlin (Germany)
Jewish Art and Symbolism
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Sol Oster
Expand all
Record last modified: 2018-10-24 14:05:21
This page: