An illustration from Iris Argaman's book "Bear and Fred," with "heartrending" illustrations by Avi Ofer. Avi Ofer/Hakibbutz Hameuchad

The Holocaust Told From the Perspective of a Teddy Bear

A teddy bear accompanied Fred Lessing in his wanderings from one hiding place to another during World War II and became a symbol after being loaned to Yad Vashem. Now the subject of a children’s book, Lessing reveals how he was persuaded to let someone else tell his story.

Fred’s teddy bear is not the most impressive in the world; it’s not even the most impressive in Jerusalem. Its fur is tattered, its gray head sporting eyes stitched together with red thread. It’s skinny,...

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