Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Legacy of Jewish Continuity

Each year, just prior to Hanukkah, Yehuda Mansbach arrives at the Holocaust History Museum at Yad Vashem to take a nostalgic piece of history back home with him for the eight days of the Festival of Lights. Yehuda brings his grandfather’s Hanukkah menorah home to his son, who was named for his great-grandfather, Rabbi Akiva Baruch Posner, the last rabbi of the Jewish Community of Kiel, Germany. The family uses this special menorah during family celebrations of Hanukkah - a testimony to the continuity of Jewish life - and after the holiday returns it to its place of honor where it is on display at Yad Vashem.

Yehuda Mansbach [left] receives the Hanukka menorah from Michael Tal, [right] an artifacts curator at Yad Vashem.

The Hanukkiyah was photographed in the family’s window in Kiel in 1931, by the Rabbi’s wife, Rachel (nee Wirtzburg) Mansbach. On the back of the photo, she wrote in German,

“Hanukkah 5692,
‘Judea Dies,’ thus saith the banner.
‘Judea will live forever,’ thus responds the light.”

The Hanukkiyah was donated to Yad Vashem by the Posner family estate, courtesy of Shulamit (Posner) Mansbach, Haifa, Israel and is on display in the Holocaust History Museum.

The Hanukkah menorah is one of thousands of items contained in Yad Vashem's artifacts collection. The professional staff of Yad Vashem ensures that the items are properly preserved and maintained. Yad Vashem urges the public that may have artifacts and documents from the Holocaust to give them to Yad Vashem for preservation and safekeeping. (Contact: +972-2-644-3703, collect@yadvashem.org.il)

Hanukkah menorah from the home of Rabbi Akiva Baruch Posner, the last rabbi of the Jewish Community of Kiel, Germany, photographed by his wife Rachel (nee Wirtzburg) during Hanukkah 1931.

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