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Yad Vashem To Witness and Proclaim

Spiritual Leader in the POW Camps

In 1941, while serving as an officer in the Yugoslavian army, Helfgott was captured and taken prisoner by the Germans. For the next four years, he was held in captivity along with 400 other Jewish officers from the Yugoslavian army. During this time, Helfgott took on the role of leader and teacher to his fellow prisoners. He fought the German institutions and other non-Jewish POWs for recognition of the communal unity of the Jewish prisoners. The Jewish prisoners celebrated the Jewish festivals together, and Helfgott taught them Hebrew and Jewish history, buried the dead and lifted the spirits of his disheartened comrades.

In the Yugoslavian army – Helfgott is above the middle soldier in the bottom row With the Jewish officers in the Yugoslavian army, his fellow prisoners – Helfgott is in the front row, third from left. Portrait of Helfgott drawn in the camp for POW officers in Nürnberg, 10 November 1941 Portrait of Helfgott drawn in the camp for POW officers in Nürnberg, 30 April 1942. The artist added the following dedication: “To my dear friend!” Siddur (prayer book) for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, 5704 (September-October 1943) in captivity Request for the assignment of a prayer room for the Jewish prisoners in the Osnabrück POW camp, 3 March 1943 Notice announcing the establishment of a “Hebrew Circle” in captivity, Chanukah 5704 (December 1943) During his four years in captivity, Helfgott documented his experiences in a diary that he carried with him. In the photo – the cover of the diary written in captivity During his four years in captivity, Helfgott documented his experiences in a diary that he carried with him. In the photo – pages from the diary written in captivity Helfgott’s prisoner disc, #7488 Drawing featured in Helfgott’s book Edim Anachnu, showing the Yugoslavian officers, fellow prisoners of Helfgott, on the deportation train to the POW campThe improvised talit (prayer shawl) of Rabbi Dr. Zvi Asaria Helfgott (z”l) that he used during the German captivity