77 years of the liberation of Auschwitz: “The light of remembrance must never go out”


Jerusalem – When many Jews in German cities were already closing the curtains, hiding from hatred and swastikas, Rahel Posner (died at the age of 83), the wife of the last Rabbi in Kiel at the time, Akiva Posner, sent a signal in 1931: she placed a Hanukkah candlestick in the window . Directly opposite, a swastika flag was waving on the wall of the house.

An image with power. 90 years ago against fear and oppression. Today against oblivion.

“Contemporary witnesses die, powerful photos and relics have to take on the task of keeping alive the memory of the atrocities of the Nazis,” says Ruth Ur (47), director of the German Friends of Yad Vashem, to BILD.



Iconic photo with strong symbolic power: Rahel Posner captured the view of the swastika flag from her apartment in Kiel and made copies of e.g. sent to Jewish newspapers. Over the years, the picture has become a symbol against forgetting. The Hanukkah candlestick is now on permanent loan to the Yad Vashem MemorialPhoto: Nava Gilo/Yad Vashem

A few weeks ago, she visited the descendants of the Posner family in Bet Shemesh near Jerusalem, and celebrated the Hanukkah Festival of Lights with them – and the original candlestick.

In June 1933, the family fled to Jerusalem via Belgium – that’s how the candlestick came to Israel.

Yehuda Mansbach (70), a grandson of Akiva Baruch Mansbach Posner (died at 78), and his family made the heirloom available to the Yad Vashem Memorial on permanent loan years ago. He says: “The light of memory must never be extinguished. It burns on in our family.”


Yehuda Mansbach (back) with his son Akiva (after his grandfather) and his grandson Harel Gilo in the small apartment near Jerusalem.  In the window: the Hanukkah candlestick

Yehuda Mansbach (back) with his son Akiva (after his grandfather) and his grandson Harel Gilo in the small apartment near Jerusalem. In the window: the Hanukkah candlestickPhoto: Isaac Harari / Yad Vashem

Ruth Ur adds: “The family brings the heirloom into the small apartment every year for the Hanukkah festival.” Here the nine candles (eight for each day of the festival of lights, one as a “servant” to light) burn behind a metal-reinforced window. It is designed to protect against external threats.


Handwritten note on the photo from 1931: Rahel Posner noted the year (5692) of the Jewish calendar on the back of the photo.

Handwritten note on the photo from 1931: Rahel Posner noted the year (5692) of the Jewish calendar on the back of the photo. “1932” probably stands for the time of development. In addition the touching rhyme: “Juda perish” The flag speaks – “Juda lives forever” Replies the lightPhoto: Rachel Posner

How does the family feel about Germany today? A first visit, which was planned for today’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, had to be canceled at short notice because of Corona. Rabbi’s granddaughter Nava Gilo (67) told the “Kieler Nachrichten”: “I could imagine a historic journey. For example, we would visit the site of the old Kiel synagogue.”

A place where her grandmother took a powerful stand against hate more than 90 years ago. Your candlestick symbolizes this power to this day.

Why memorabilia are becoming increasingly important

The United Nations established International Holocaust Remembrance Day (Remembrance Day) in 2005.

Sixty years earlier, on January 27, 1945, Red Army soldiers had liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp. More than 1.1 million people died there. Christoph Heubner (72) from the International Auschwitz Committee emphasizes the importance of the date and the handling of memorabilia that are reminiscent of this dark epoch. He told BILD: “Every day we lose important eyewitnesses who can fight against forgetting. The number of survivors worldwide is estimated at less than 10,000. It is therefore all the more important to address the question: how will we survive in the future without them?”


On the commemoration day, the Friends of Yad Vaschem and the Kieler Nachrichten are distributing 70,000 window stickers with the Hanukkah candlestick.  The hashtag on the web: #show light

On the commemoration day, the Friends of Yad Vaschem and the Kieler Nachrichten are distributing 70,000 window stickers with the Hanukkah candlestick. The hashtag on the web: #show lightPhoto: Yad Vashem

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