When Holocaust survivor Irene Haya Weiss of Toronto heard her daughter was going
to Yad Vashem to take part in an education seminar, she gave her a little blue
prayer book to donate to the Holocaust museum.
The siddur, which she had
written by hand from memory in 1945 while in a German forced labor camp, had
been in her possession for 66 years.
It helped her live through the worst
time of her life. But now, at age 91, Weiss felt it was time to donate it to the
museum in Jerusalem.
“She said she would like to share it with other
people in a museum so that all may see,” her daughter Tova Dror said on Monday.
“At home it will just sit on a shelf.”
Originally from a village outside
Satmar (nowadays Satu Mare, Romania) she and her family were deported to
Auschwitz in 1944. Upon arrival at the death camp she was separated from them by
“She was sent one way and her parents and brother went the
other,” Dror said.
After several months, Weiss was transferred to a
munitions factory where conditions were somewhat better.
There, she found
a booklet and wrote the transliterated Hebrew prayers onto its empty pages using
Hungarian script. She dedicated the makeshift prayer book to her parents and
brother, hoping they would be reunited after the war. They were among the six
millions Jews murdered by the Nazis.
After the war Weiss made aliya and
raised a family. After her husband died she moved to Toronto to be with her
daughter and her family.
Yad Vashem will add Weiss’s little blue siddur
to its growing collection of Holocaust-related artifacts so that future
generations may learn about the genocide during World War II.
calls on all those interested in donating items relating to the Holocaust to
call 1 800-25- 77-77 or e-mail to email@example.com.