Heirlooms serve as ‘new’ Holocaust remembrance

BERLIN (AFP) — 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 Tuesday in Berlin.

The 16 family heirlooms, one from each German state, bear witness to individual survivors and victims of the Nazis’ campaign to wipe out European Jewry.

Lore Mayerfeld, 85, was just a toddler when her grandparents gave her the doll she describes as a “parting gift” as her Jewish family fled Kassel, Germany for the United States.

“The pajama that she’s wearing is the pajama that I wore on Kristallnacht,” Mayerfeld told AFP, referring to the November 1938 pogrom.

“My father was taken to Buchenwald concentration camp. My mother and I were hidden that night by neighbors and in the meantime, the Nazis came in and destroyed our home. And outside of course the synagogues burned, the stores were broken into, and the glass shattered. It was a difficult night, it was the start of things to come.”

Mayerfeld and her mother were able to join her father in the United States in 1941 but only learned after the war that her grandparents and several aunts, uncles and cousins had been murdered by the Nazis.

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