Mezuzah parchment taken from synagogue razed on Kristallnacht
Gift of Margot Brandes
Id no. 191.98, Judaica, Hebrew
This mezuzah parchment was saved by Rabbi Eleazar Bernstein on Kristallnacht. A mezuzah is a small case traditionally affixed to doorposts in Jewish homes and buildings, and contains a scroll of parchment upon which verses from the Torah and the name of God are written. Bernstein removed this mezuzah parchment from the synagogue in Zweibrucken, Germany where he was rabbi. The synagogue was among the 1,400 synagogues pillaged and destroyed by Nazi-lead mobs on Kristallnacht. Rabbi Bernstein was arrested that night, and his home was looted. As chaplain of the jail where he was held, Bernstein knew the chief of police, and was released after a few hours.

The chief of police drove Bernstein to the French border where he crossed into France. Bernstein worked as a rabbi in a town near Strasbourg and waited for visas which would allow him to immigrate with his family to the US.

The family immigrated to the US in 1939, where Bernstein again began work as a rabbi. He also sold doughnuts and clothing door to door to supplement his income.
Bookmark and Share
Related Items