Commemoration of the Vilna Community
After the War
The Book of Esther
A Megillah (scroll of the Book of Esther) which was found in Vilna after the war. In the Megillah case was a yad (pointer) which was probably meant to be used for reading the Megillah. There is an inscribed plaque on the side of the shell casing that reads, "The last Megillah from our city: Vitka - Abba"
The Megillah was given to the Yad Vashem Museum by Marysa Katznelson, daughter of the poet Yocheved Bat-Miriam.
Abba Kovner had a deep friendship with Yocheved Bat-Miriam and gave her the Megillah as a mark of their friendship. Marysa herself did not know the history of the Megillah and discussed it with Vitka, Abba Kovner's wife; it turned out that even she did not have any further information. According to Vitka, an operation to collect any surviving items of Judaica and to create a museum was undertaken following the liberation of Vilna. When it became clear that the Soviets coveted the museum artifacts, the artifacts were removed in order to protect them from looting. It would seem that Abba Kovner took the Megillah with him when he left Vilna and thus it arrived in Israel.
Yad Vashem Artifacts Collection, Gift of Marysa Katznelson, Israel