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Yad Vashem No Child's Play

In Hiding

Fred Lessing

Fred Lessing's teddy bear
Fred Lessing's teddy bear
Fred Lessing (third from left) with other children on outing in Amsterdam
Fred Lessing (third from left) with other
children on outing in Amsterdam
Fred Lessing and classmates in Amsterdam, 1942
Fred Lessing and classmates
in Amsterdam, 1942

This teddy bear belongs to Fred Lessing, a child survivor of the Holocaust who currently resides in the United States. Lessing was a young schoolboy when the war reached Holland. He was hidden by a Christian family during which time the teddy bear became his closest friend, his confidante and source of comfort. After the war ended, the teddy bear remained with Fred Lessing, until he agreed to lend it to Yad Vashem for this exhibition.

When first approached by Yad Vashem, Lessing asked for a few days to consider the possibility of sending the bear so far away. After careful thought, he called the museum curators with this response: "I spoke with my bear and I explained to him that, for the first time ever we would have to part. The reason was that he had to carry out an important task-he had to travel to Israel to take part in an exhibition with other toys from the period of the Holocaust and there he would tell our story to the children who came to visit the exhibition."

(To read more, click here :"The Mona Lisa of Yad Vashem")