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The International School for Holocaust Studies

Artifacts from the Holocaust

In this section we focus on artifacts, presented courtesy of the Artifacts Retrieval Department, that can inform us about a specific part of the Holocaust period. These items, which are part of the Yad Vashem collection, are unique: they characterize events that occurred during the Holocaust, and hold emotional value as well. The story of these artifacts is accompanied by points of reference and discussion to be used with students. This page will be updated regularly as the staff at the International School for Holocaust Studies prepares more articles.



The Wooden Duck

The Wooden Duck

This wooden duck was used by the French underground to hide and smuggle documents. Read more





Yehudit's Recipe Book

Yehudit's Recipe Book

Yehudit (Aufrichtig) Taube was born in Hungary in 1914 and immigrated to Amsterdam in 1938 where she worked as a nanny for a Jewish family. At the time of the German occupation, she was studying to be a beautician. Betrayed by a Dutch woman, she was deported in 1944 to Westerbork and then to Ravensbrück. There, she and her friends wrote "fantasy recipes". Read more

Strip of Cloth

Strip of Cloth

This strip of cloth was left over from a Nazi flag, and was signed by women prisoners in Ravensbrück. One of the signatories is Hetty Voute. Read more




The Shofar from Skarzysko-Kamienna

The Shofar from Skarzysko-Kamienna

This shofar was made in the brutal forced labor camp of Skarzysko-Kamienna. It was the product of one man’s dream of fulfilling the commandment of blowing the shofar on the Jewish New Year, and of another man's talent at turning a ram's horn into a shofar. Both Rabbi Yitzhak Finkler, who blew the shofar on Rosh HaShanah 5704 (1943), and Moshe Waintreter, who made the shofar, took their lives in their hands by carrying out this religious commandment. Read more

Artifacts and Art Created in the Detention Camps in Cyprus

Artifacts and Art Created in the Detention Camps in Cyprus

Art is frequently used by survivors of the Holocaust as a form of commemoration. Many of the survivors who tried to get to Eretz Israel (then, Palestine) after the end of World War II were intercepted by the British, arrested and incarcerated on Cyprus where they were held, in some cases, for years. Some of these survivors used the local limestone on Cyprus to produce commemorative art objects. The artifacts presented here are connected to the art created by survivors on Cyprus. Read more




Artifacts from North Africa

Artifacts from North Africa

When the Germans entered into North Africa, they interned many Tunisians, Algerians, Moroccans and Libyans in labor and concentration camps. Jews were labelled, polarized and deported; they were disenfranchised and marginalized - pushed out of the societies in which they had lived. The artifacts shown reflect the fate of the Jews of North Africa. Read more





Artifacts Saved by Zizi Lichtenstein's Mother

Artifacts Saved by Zizi Lichtenstein's Mother

In July 1942, Zizi Lichtenstein, aged 10 was attending school in Paris. He and all other Jews had been instructed to wear the yellow star. Zizi’s letters and drawings express the innermost thoughts and feelings of a ten-year-old boy in France who is unhappy and wishes only to be reunited with his family. Read more





A Yellow Star of David Button which Bulgarian Jews were Forced to Wear, Yad Vashem Artifacts Department

A Yellow Star of David Button which Bulgarian Jews were Forced to Wear in 1941

Sonia Koperwaser was the oldest child born to Aaron and Simcha in 1930. Her younger sister Milka was born a year later. The family lived in Sofia, Bulgaria. In 1941, when Sonia was ten-and-a-half, the Germans invaded Bulgaria. A curfew was imposed on the Jews; they were allowed to leave their homes for two hours every day. In addition, every Jew was ordered to sew a yellow star button on his/her lapel. Sonia's uncle made her a pin from the button that she used to wear on her clothes. One day Sonia was caught by a policeman who beat her for wearing a pin... Read more


A Brit Milah Kit that Belonged to the Mohel Moshe Matza, Yad Vashem Artifacts Department

A Brit Milah (Circumcision Ceremony) Kit from a Greek Jew

The community of Zakynthos is the only Greek Jewish community that was saved from annihilation in its entirety. The Matza Family – Moshe and Esther, and seven of their nine children – Rosa, Shulamit, Devorah, Michal, Dino, Avraham, and Herzl, hid in the village of Katastari with Stephanos and Panyiota Biliardo. Moshe, who worked as a mohel and a hazzan (cantor) in his community and in other Greek Jewish communities, continued to perform circumcisions despite the inherent danger because he felt he had a responsibility to Jews in the area... Read more


Inside Rudashevski's Diary, Yad Vashem Artifacts Department

The Diary of Yitzchak Rudashevski

Reading Yitzchak’s diary enables the reader to glance outside of the Vilna Ghetto walls and to experience the everyday life from the unique perspective of a young adult. In poetic and sensitive language, he describes experiences, anxiety, amazement, and wishes of an adolescent in the ghetto. The diary is written in Yiddish on 204 pages of a small notebook, some in pencil and some in pen. The diary enables us to glance into the world and the lives of the struggling Jews in the ghetto, where the fear of death reigned... Read more


Pair of Mittens made by Zipora Cohen in the Kovno Ghetto for her Daughter Hinda, and Hinda's Shoe, Yad Vashem Artifacts Department

Shoe and Mittens of the Toddler Hinda Cohen

This article focuses on the shoe and mittens of the toddler Hinda Cohen, deported to Auschwitz in a children’s aktion (action, or round-up) that occurred in the Kovno Ghetto, on March 27, 1944. Hinda was murdered in Auschwitz. When Hinda was taken from her bed to be deported to Auschwitz, her shoe was left behind. Upon finding it, her father etched the date on the shoe’s sole. Her parents, Dov and Zipora Cohen, survived the war. They kept their daughter’s shoe, the pair of mittens that Zipora had sewn for her from scraps of material, and her birth certificate, until they died... Read more


Fragment of Hashomer Hatzair Flag, Yad Vashem Artifacts Department

A Flag from a Jewish Youth Movement in Germany

In this feature, we learn the story of a Jewish youth movement training farm in Germany, whose members fell victim to the Reich anti-Jewish policies. When their situation turned dire, the members divided the movement’s flag into pieces, vowing to bring their pieces safely to Israel... Read more







A Child's Silverware Set and Jacket

A Coat and Baby Utensils that Belonged to the Children Mirjam and Zvi Hamerslag

Learn about a set of children’s silverware and a jacket that survived the Holocaust, as well as the story of the children to whom they belonged. The Hamerslags' utensil set and coat invite us to learn about the smuggling of children, the Netherlands, the Dutch Underground resistance movement, concentration camps, Righteous Among the Nations... Read more