Letter, Written for Purim During Holocaust, Surfaces

Handwritten document, which chronicles the lives of Jews in a concentration camp and contains passages from the Book of Esther, is donated to Yad Vashem.

Ofer Aderet
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Ofer Aderet

A letter written at a concentration camp on the eve of Purim in 1943 was recently donated to the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum.

Written by Zvi Herschel Weiss in an effort to lift the spirits of fellow prisoners at Ilioara Concentration Camp in Transylvania, the letter includes passages from the Book of Esther, or Megillat Esther.

Weiss' son, Shmuel Yitzhak, donated the letter to the museum. In a testimony to Yad Vashem, he said that camp inmates had no Book of Esther to read during the holiday and that his father, who had a sense of humor and liked to joke around, decided to write a feuilleton in Yiddish that combined stories from the Book of Esther with the stories of the camp inmates.

"The feuilleton is dear to me and I had a hard time parting with it," Shmuel Yithak Weiss said. "My wife pushed me to give it to Yad Vashem and ultimately I decided it was important for the Jewish people that more people know about its existence."

"I made a copy of the feuilleton and gave the original to Yad Vashem," he added.

Yad Vashem published the letter ahead of this year's Purim holiday, which falls on Saturday night and Sunday.

Handwritten document written in concentration camp on Purim 1943

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