Newsletter No. 18, September 2012
On the eve of the Jewish High Holidays, a time of introspection and reflection, I would like to take this opportunity to update you on our project and share some inspirational stories of how the information in the Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names continues to impact lives of people around the world. I thank those of you who have joined us in this historic venture and continue to assist in our efforts to commemorate the names of each individual man, woman or child murdered during the Shoah.
Prayer Book Returned to Family of Original Owners Murdered in the Holocaust
In September of 1938 Shmuel Rosenberg of Hajdunanas, Hungary presented his daughter Margitte with a Machzor – a special prayer book for the Jewish High Holidays. In the aftermath of the war torn years that followed, as the winds of the Nazi invasion wreaked devastation on European Jewry, only the Machzor and a father's warm wishes for his daughter survived - Shmuel and Margitte were both murdered. Over half a century later, Yishai Shachor, an Israeli studying medicine in Budapest, found the Machzor in a local Synagogue's collection of old books and asked to bring the prayer book back to Israel with him where he has used it for his High Holiday prayers year after year - always wondering about the fate of Shmuel and Margitte. Recently Dr. Shachor contacted Yad Vashem to learn more about the book and it's owners. Yad Vashem researchers discovered that Pages of Testimony were submitted for Shmuel and Margitte Rosenberg by Shmuel's granddaughter Esther Rosenberg-Weisel. Shachor contacted Esther and was able to return the Machzor to the Rosenberg family. Click here to read more.
The Voice of a Young Girl in the Ghetto
"I am just a tiny spot, even under a microscope I would be very hard to see – but I can laugh at the whole world because I am a Jew. I am poor and in the ghetto, I do not know what will happen to me tomorrow, and yet I can laugh at the whole world because I have something very strong supporting me – my faith." So wrote 14-year-old Rywka Lipszyc in a diary she kept in the Lodz ghetto from October 1943 until April 1944. After losing her parents and siblings to disease and deportation, Rywka spent the remainder of the war with her cousins, Mina and Esther Lipszyc. After surviving the hunger of the Lodz ghetto, the horrors of Auschwitz and a grueling death march, the three cousins arrived at Bergen Belsen, weak and very sick. Esther last saw Rywka on her deathbed in the hospital ward. She and Mina slowly recuperated in Sweden, but they never again heard any news of their cousin until last summer, when they were told about the discovery of the diary, thanks to a Page of Testimony Mina submitted to Yad Vashem in Rywka's memory.
Searching for Family Roots
Genealogists seeking information on Jews whose lives were impacted by the Holocaust often turn to Yad Vashem's Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names. Nancy Diamond, of Washington DC, used the Names Database as her starting point, which led her on a global trek, piecing together fragmented information about her family that had become obscured in the aftermath of the Shoah. For Diamond the search became a life-altering endeavor, as she found not only interesting facts about the past, but also living relatives in various cities around the world with whom she has now developed close relationships. Visit our Connections and Discoveries section to read additional stories about family discoveries.
Yizkor Appeal : Commemorate Names of Shoah Victims
The word yizkor -“to remember” - refers to a special prayer said on behalf of family members who have passed away. Yizkor presents living relatives with an opportunity to spiritually elevate the soul of a departed loved one. The experience of reciting Yizkor can be a powerful moment of reflection and rememberence. Also included in the service are memorial prayers for collectively martyred fellow Jews - those who were murdered simply because they were Jews. During Yizkor, when hearts and minds are filled with memories of generations past - it is a most fitting time to remember our moral imperative to memorialize the victims of the Shoah. The Jews are a people of memory. Our history is an integral part of us and we pass it from generation to generation. In reciting Yizkor we remember the collective tragedies of our people as well as our own personal losses. Please take this opportunity to make sure that the names of each of your loved ones and acquaintances that perished during the Holocaust are registered for generations to come in Yad Vashem, Jerusalem.
Share a unique video message from Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council, drawing on biblical sources on the importance of commemorating the Jews who perished during the Shoah. Rav Lau, himself a child survivor of Buchenwald, powerfully calls upon Jews across the world, to join Yad Vashem's efforts to recover the names of each individual Shoah victim.