Passover Haggadah rescued from Nazi clutches

A Haggadah saved from Nazi Germany tells the tragic story of Jewish redemption in the modern era. 

On a snowy day in 1934, Rabbi Shmuel Spiegel, a Berlin resident, passed through a courtyard where a heap of ashes and the scorched remnants of Jewish holy books burned by the Nazis were strewn in the snow.

At the edge of the smoldering pile, Rabbi Spiegel noticed a Passover Haggadah, the text read during the Seder night which recounts the Israelites’ exodus from Egyptian bondage. Its edges were singed, but the book itself had not burned thanks to the snow.

Rabbi Spiegel took the Haggadah home, dried it, and attached a handwritten note: “After the Nazis (may their memory be erased) displayed their might and burned myriads of valuable books on a pyre, I was walking one day, and happened upon the courtyard where the ashes of the scorched books were heaped. The pile was covered with a layer of snow that had fallen in the meantime, and at the edge of the pile I found this Haggadah, which had not been completely burned, only slightly singed. I picked it up – it was completely sodden because of the melted snow – and I took it home as a keepsake.”

Rabbi Spiegel took the singed Haggadah with him when he immigrated to the Land of Israel in 1936. The Haggadah was kept in the family home in Tel Aviv.

Three of his four children, his son Tzvi-Hermann and his daughters Rachel and Gisella, perished in the Holocaust with their families. His daughter Chana immigrated to Israel in the 1930s.

Chana’s grandson Ilan Ganot donated the Haggadah to Yad Vashem through the Gathering the Fragments campaign.

By: World Israel News
(with files from Yad Vashem)