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Kiel, Germany: When light dispels darkness

החנוכיה בעיר קייל בתקופת גרמניה הנאצית והלילה

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Millions are familiar with the famous photograph of the Hanukkah menorah on a windowsill in Kiel, Germany, opposite a Nazi flag waving on the other side of the street. But last night a new chapter in the history of this menorah was written. as told by Nava Gila:

"I am the granddaughter of Rabbi Baruch and Rachel Posner. This was their menorah. The menorah survived the Holocaust and our family gave it to Yad Vashem. Each year we bring it out and light it, but this year we received an unexpected invitation: to come to Kiel in order to light the menorah with the president of Germany.

We had never set foot on German soil, but after much hesitation we decided that accepting this invitation could provide an educational message for the entire world. We just now finished the emotional menorah lighting ceremony and have still not fully absorbed its significance.

Attached is a picture of my brother, Yehuda Mansbach, lighting my grandparents menorah while standing next to German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife. During the ceremony, the German President said that after the crimes against humanity that were committed on this soil, he regards it as a privilege to host the descendants of Holocaust survivors kindling lights that dispel the darkness of anti-Semitism.

The city of Kiel is full of pictures of the menorah and everyone here is excited about its return. We have been interviewed by the New York Times, the Guardian, and other media outlets, and now feel that this story is much bigger than us.

When this photograph was taken in 1931, my grandmother wrote these words on the back of it: 'The flag says: "Yehuda will die." The Hanukkah light says: "Yehuda will live forever."' The flag failed and was destroyed while the light of Yehuda continues to shine. Grandma was right."


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