Marking the New Year

From Our Collections

Jewish Calendar and Prayers from Bergen-Belsen

Menachem Shimoni, (formerly Emil Neumann) was born in 1927 in Krakow, Poland. His parents were Orthodox Jews. During his childhood, the family moved to Budapest, and they remained in Hungary in the war years. In 1944, after the German invasion, the family managed to board the “Kastner train” that traveled from Budapest to Bergen-Belsen, Germany. While imprisoned in Bergen-Belsen, Menachem made a calendar from memory, for the Jewish year 5705 (1944-45). The calendar included all the festivals and special days, and the weekly Torah portion, and served many religious prisoners in the camp, who tried to remain observant despite the inhuman conditions prevailing there.

The whole family, including Menachem’s brother and sister, survived, and after the war's end immigrated to Eretz Israel. Menachem arrived in Eretz Israel in 1945, and settled in Tel Aviv, where he was active in the “Tze’irai Hamizrachi” movement. He later married and moved to Bnei Brak.