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The International School for Holocaust Studies

Artifacts and Art Created in the Detention Camps in Cyprus

by Sheryl Silver Ochayon and Sara Shor


A miniature tombstone made in the detention camps in Cyprus as a memorial to Moshe Joselewitz's family who were murdered by the Nazis. Gift of Sara Ayalon and Gitit Broid, Jerusalem IsraelA miniature tombstone made in the detention camps in Cyprus as a memorial to Moshe Joselewitz's family who were murdered by the Nazis.
Gift of Sara Ayalon and Gitit Broid, Jerusalem Israel

This artifact is a miniature monument or tombstone made in the detention camps in Cyprus as a memorial to Moshe Joselewitz's family who were murdered by the Nazis.
It says, “God will remember the soul of my mother Sarah, my sister Chana, my brother Mordechai and the souls of all my relatives that were killed, burned and choked by the German murderers in the years 1941-1942, may God avenge their blood.”

Moshe Joselewitz was born in Grodno in 1924. He and his family were forced into the ghetto of a small town near Grodno. His mother Sarah, and younger brother and sister, Mordechai and Chana, were killed in the ghetto. Moshe, together with his father Zalman and brother Chaim, managed to survive by wandering in the forest for two years.

After the war, the three joined the “Bericha” movement of Jewish displaced persons trying to get to Palestine. Moshe separated from his father and brother, and sailed, with 2,700 other DPs, on the Aliyah Bet ship “Theodore Herzl.” The ship was intercepted by the British and, like many other survivors attempting to enter Eretz Israel (then, Palestine) in defiance of the British embargo, Moshe was arrested and incarcerated on Cyprus. He spent two years in the British detention camps; because he was still of an age where he could fight in the army, the British held him until 1949 (after Israel’s War of Independence had ended). While imprisoned on Cyprus, he spent time whittling local limestone into objects such as candlesticks and decorative boxes, and made the monument presented here. He also functioned as an announcer on the radio station that the detainees organized, broadcasting the news in Yiddish.

Ultimately, Moshe, his brother and his father made aliyah and settled in Jerusalem. Moshe married Yehudit in 1951 and they raised a family together. He passed away in 2006.

Yad Vashem Artifacts Collection, Gift of Sara Ayalon and Gitit Broid, Jerusalem, Israel.

Tools for carving limestone made by Efraim Kushnir in a detention camp in Cyprus. Yad Vashem Artifacts Collection. Gift of Efraim & Miriam Kushnir, Ramat Gan, IsraelTools for carving limestone made by Efraim Kushnir in a detention camp in Cyprus.
Yad Vashem Artifacts Collection. Gift of Efraim & Miriam Kushnir, Ramat Gan, Israel

These are tools for carving limestone made by Efraim Kushnir in a detention camp in Cyprus. Yad Vashem Artifacts Collection. Gift of Efraim & Miriam Kushnir, Ramat Gan, Israel.