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Object | Accession Number: 1992.8.8 a-c

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    Brief Narrative
    Shulchan Aruch, an authoritative source of Jewish law, from the library of Sol Oster, who as a young man, left Germany and then Lithuania to escape the increasingly violent anti-Semitism of those countries in the late 1930s. The book was given to him as a present by his maternal great-uncle, Shalom Dantziger who had used the book for years himself. Dantziger was a mohel in Berlin, Germany, in the early 20th century. The postcard was written in 1919 Berlin to Yehiel (or Yisrael) Rubenstein. The style, with the frequent use of God Willing and similar language, suggests that the writer was a very pious person. Sol’s father, Rabbi Isaac Ossowski, was a prominent member of the Jewish community in Berlin, Germany. He was head shochet [ritual slaughterer], mohel [practitioner of ritual circumcision], sofer [scribe], and hazan [cantor, musical prayer leader] at the Alte Shul [Old Synagogue]. After Hitler was appointed Chancellor in 1933, increasingly severe sanctions were placed upon Jews. The family was targeted repeatedly by the SS (Schutzstaffel; Protection Squadrons.) Fourteen year old Sol told his father that he wanted to leave Germany to attend a seminary and, in 1934, he was sent to a yeshiva in Ponevezh (Panevezys), Lithuania. In December 1936, Sol received a notice to register with the German embassy. Afraid that his passport would be confiscated, Sol applied to a seminary in London and went into hiding. He needed an acceptance letter to get a student visa for England and when it arrived in June 1937, he left for London. After completing his studies in 1939, he joined his parents in the United States, where they had emigrated a year earlier.
    Shulchan Aruch
    emigration:  1939
    received: Berlin (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Sol Oster
    b. front top corner, within postage stamp, red ink: 10 DEUTSCHES REICH [6 German Empire]
    b. front, top, postmark stamped in black ink : HALLE/ N/ SAALEY 2
    b. front, top center, red ink : Pofttarte
    c. front, top center, red ink : KRIAUSINIS [Pear]
    c. front, bottom center, blue ink : LIETUVIU / SALDAINIU FABRIKAS [Lithuanian candy factory]
    c. front, bottom center, blue ink : Ruta
    c. front, right bottom corner, blue ink : SIAULIAI
    Subject: Isaac Ossowski
    Subject: Sol Oster
    Isaac Ossowski was born in 1877 in Lubraniez, near Warsaw, Poland, to an extremely devout family and Hasidim, with a long tradition of religious study and service, as hazan [cantors], shochet [ritual slaughterer], mohels [perform ritual circumcision], and sofers [scribes.] His father, Menahem, was a shochet and Isaac attended Yeshiva in Russia. He resettled in Germany, first in Frankfurt am Main, then in Berlin. He married Frieda Schwartzbardt, born in 1888. They had three sons, Joseph, (1915-2011), Leo (b. 4/1/1913), and Sol (1919-2011), and one daughter, Nettie. Rabbi Ossowski became head shochet, overseeing the ritual slaughter of animals in Berlin. He also served as hazan, mohel, and sofer for the Alte Shule [Old Synagogue]. After Hitler was appointed Chancellor in 1933, the persecution of Jews became official government policy. Rabbi Ossowski and members of his family were interrogated several times by the SS (Schutzstaffel; Protection Squadrons) who gathered intelligence on opponents of the Nazi state and policed racial purity. In 1934, due to the threatening anti-Semitic climate of the Nazi state, he sent his young son, Sol, to Lithuania to study at a yeshiva. In 1938, Rabbi Ossowski, with his wife and daughter, escaped Nazi Germany for the United States. They joined their sons, Joseph and Leo, who had settled in the United States in 1936. Their son, Sol, joined them in the United States in 1939 after completing his rabbinical studies in England. Rabbi Ossowski, 66, died in Ohio in 1943.
    Sally (Sol) Ossowski was born on January 1, 1919, in Berlin, Germany, to Frieda Schwartzbardt, born in 1888, and Rabbi Issac Ossowski, born in 1877 in Lubraniez, Poland. Sol had two brothers, Leo, born on April 1, 1913, and Joseph, born in 1914, in Pfungstadt, and a sister, Nettie. His father was a prominent and active member of the Jewish community, serving as a shochet [ritual slaughterer], mohel [practioner of ritual circumcision], sofer [scribe], and cantor. The family attended the Alte Schul synagogue where Sol sang in the choir. He attended the Jewish Community School for Boys until he was 14 years old and was active in sports, plays, and clubs.
    By the early 1930s, and especially after Hitler's appointment as Chancellor in 1933, Sol noticed a change within society as people’s attitudes towards Jews began to change in response to the anti-Semitic policies of the Nazi government. The Ossowski family was the target of anti-Semitic behaviours and attacks, much of this due to his father's prominent position within the Jewish community. Some of Sol's friends stopped playing with him and neighbors no longer said hello. Members of the Hitler Youth attacked Sol on the subway, yelling “Jew, get out”, and attempted to open the doors of the moving train; Sol escaped, but not one person helped him. One day as they were on their way to temple, two SS (Schutzstaffel; Protection Squadrons) guards took Sol, his brothers, and father into the basement of a bar. Sol managed to escape, but was captured and returned; a neighbour talked the SS into letting them go. Another time, the SS forced their way into their home looking for contraband.

    As a result of this incident, Sol decided he wanted to leave Germany. Isaac supported this decision and made arrangements for him to attend seminary outside of Germany. Sol left in 1934 for a yeshiva in Ponevezh (Panevezys), Lithuania. He wanted to emigrate to Palestine and help establish a Jewish state. His brother, Joseph, got a visa for the United States with the help of a cousin, and emigrated in 1936. He sent Sol money for his living expenses. In December 1936, Sol received a letter from the German government requiring German citizens to register with the embassy in Kaunas and to hand in their passports. He was terrified that if he complied he would be stateless and unable to leave Lithuania. Sol believed emigration to Palestine was no longer an option. An Arab revolt in 1936 resulted in the British severely limiting immigration. He discussed his plight with Rabbi Kahaneman, the head of the Yeshiva. They decided that Sol should apply to the Tree of Life seminary in London. Sol no longer felt safe in Lithuania. Pro-Nazi groups were active in the country and anti-Semitism was growing stronger throughout the country. He decided to go into hiding in the Jasnegurke forest in January 1937. A farmer allowed him to live in his barn. Food was brought to him by the Green family whom he had lived with while in school. The mother, a cook at the Yeshiva, made food for Sol which her daughter brought to him. Once he received his acceptance letter from the seminary in June 1937, Sol came out of hiding and left for London via Denmark. He stayed for one week in Copenhagen with a local Rabbi before securing a ticket to London from the Joint Distribution Committee, a Jewish humanitarian assistance organization that aided German Jews in their flight from Nazi Europe. He entered England on a student visa in June 1937.

    Sol’s parents and sister left Germany for the United States via Belgium in 1938, having changed their name from Ossowski to Oster. Sol completed university and emigrated to the U.S. in 1939. He married Frieda Perl on December 20, 1947, and they had a son. He was the longest tenured rabbi at Temple Beth Israel-Shaare Zedek in Lima, Ohio, serving for more than 40 years. He retired in 1992, and was bestowed the honor of rabbi emeritus by his congregation. Leo died in 2008, Joseph in 2009, and his wife, Frieda, in 2011. Sol died on August 25, 2011, in Hilliard, Ohio at age 92.

    Physical Details

    Object Type
    Books (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    a. Rebound, black leather covered book with aged, discolored white paper and Yiddish text in black ink. It has a black ink stamp on the front page and a purple ink stamp on the back page. There is tape on the spine with the title inscribed.
    Title: Shulchan Aruch ; Publication: Amsterdam : Rabbi Naftali Herz Levi; 1924/1926 (original text 1760); 19 cm.
    b. Rectangular light brown paper postcard. On the front, handwritten in ink, is 4 lines of mixed German and Yiddish text and an address; and preprinted in red ink: text and, in the upper right corner, a 1o mark postage stamp. The stamp has an image of a woman in right profile with German text below and the denomination 10 on either side. A postmark stamp in black ink is in the top center and a partial postmark is on the right side. The reverse has German and Yiddish text in black ink.
    c. Rectangular candy wrapper with a blue honeycomb pattern on a white background. There are three sections divided by horizontal creases: the top has 7 yellow circles with dates above and Lithuanian text below; the center has 2 orange pears; the third has Lithuanian text and a star design. The reverse has numbers written in pencil.
    a: Height: 7.380 inches (18.745 cm)
    b: Height: 3.500 inches (8.89 cm) | Width: 5.500 inches (13.97 cm)
    c: Height: 3.370 inches (8.56 cm) | Width: 2.750 inches (6.985 cm)
    a : paper, leather, ink, adhesive, pressure-sensitive tape
    b : paper, ink
    c : paper, ink, graphite
    a. front page, stamped in purple ink : S. J. Danziger / Stettin
    a. back page, stamped in black ink : S. Danziger. . . Berlin
    a. spine, top, written in black ink : Yiddish text
    b. front, postmarkk, stampied in black ink : Halle (Salle) N
    b. front, right side, handwritten in ink : [illegible] Ossowski / Berlin r. 24. / L[?]strasse 153.
    b. front and reverse, handwritten in ink : mix of German and Yiddish script [ I received your letter and today, the 20th, I immediately sent to you _____ (not clear whether it is a medicine, or something else). It is very difficult to get and is costly. I will try to continue and send to you more if I am able to find it. / How are things going for you financially? Can you make a decent living? We hope that with God's help you have no reason to complain and we hope to see each other, God willing, one day.
    (from Isaac Ossowski to Yehiel (Yisrael?) Rubenstein, Berlin 1919)
    b. front, left side, handwritten in black ink : 4 lines of Yiddish script

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    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 17:50:31
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