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.
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.”
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.
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?”