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Ritual slaughter instrument set: 3 knives, 3 cases, 2 whetstones, a bag, a band, and 4 cloths used by a shochet

Object | Accession Number: 1992.8.39 a-n

Set of 14 instruments used for shehitah [ritual slaughter]by Isaac Ossowski, the head shochet for the Alte Shule in Berlin who left Germany with his family in 1938 because of the targeted persecution of Jews by the government of Nazi Germany. This set includes 3 knives of different sizes with wooden cases, 2 whetstones to sharpen the knives, and one bag and 4 cloths used to wipe and cover the instruments. A shochet performs shehitah, the Jewish religious and humane method of slaughtering animals and poultry. It requires years of training in the laws and procedures of shehitah, as well as the knowledge of animal anatomy and pathology. Rabbi Ossowski was a prominent member of the Jewish community in Berlin. He was a mohel [practioner of ritual circumcision], sofer [scribe], and hazan[cantor, musical prayer leader], as well as shochet for the Alte Shule [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.

emigration:  1938
use:  approximately 1910-1938
use: Berlin (Germany)
Jewish Art and Symbolism
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Sol Oster
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 18:22:10
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