In first, Israel loans Holocaust survivors’ heirlooms to Germany in remembrance drive

The piano at the center of the exhibition belonged to the Margulies family of textile traders from Chemnitz.

Many of its members went into hiding as the Nazis’ noose tightened around them, but soon realized escape was the only option. They boarded a ship for Haifa in 1939 and eventually arrived in Mandatory Palestine.

Their beloved piano arrived days later in a shipping container, thanks to arrangements made by their 15-year-old son Shlomo. The family eventually donated it to Yad Vashem in thanks for their survival.

“With these objects, you start to imagine how these people who felt completely German were slowly ripped out of the heart of German society,” said Ruth Ur, who curated the exhibition in Berlin’s government quarter which runs until February 17 before heading to Essen in western Germany.

She called the piano’s journey a kind of “miracle” and part of a “new way of telling stories” about the Holocaust.

“That boy (Shlomo) is still alive today at the age of 99,” she added. “And that is wonderful.”


In first, Israel loans Holocaust survivors’ heirlooms to Germany in remembrance drive
Curator Ruth Ur looks at a nine-branched candelabrum Hanukkah Menorah on display during the opening of the exhibition “16 objects – 70 years of Yad Vashem” at the Paul-Loebe-Haus parliamentary building in Berlin, on January 24, 2023. – An 80-year-old blonde baby doll called Inge. A hand-carved Torah scroll case that survived a concentration camp. A beloved piano that joined a German Jewish family in exile. Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial has for the first time in its 70-year history lent prized possessions from its permanent collection to Germany for an exhibition opening on January 24, 2023 in Berlin.
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