U.S. President Donald Trump will be presented with a special memento during his short visit Tuesday to the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum and memorial: an exact replica of a personal album that belonged to a 16-year-old Jewish girl murdered by the Nazis.
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Ester Goldstein, who was born in Germany, was among 800 Jews deported in October 1942 to Riga, Latvia, where they were shot to death in a forest. Her personal album – the original copy of which is stored in Yad Vashem – includes photos, illustrations and dedications. Her first entry in the album was made when she was 11 years old, and her last entry was made about a month before she was deported.
The memento will be presented to Trump by Margot Herschenbaum, Ester’s sister and the only surviving member of the Goldstein family. In 1939, Margot was sent to Australia as part of the Kindertransport, the organized rescue efforts of Jewish children between 1938 and 1940. After the war, a cousin of the family who had survived the Holocaust returned to the Goldstein home in Berlin, where a neighbor presented him with a box of papers she had kept safe throughout the war. The box contained Ester’s album, which the cousin brought back for Margot. In 2006, Margot handed it over for safekeeping to Yad Vashem. The album is included in an online exhibition on the Yad Vashem website.
Because his visit to Yad Vashem will be very brief, Trump will not participate in the museum tour that is customary for foreign dignitaries. On his visit, which will begin at 1 P.M., he will be accompanied by his wife Melania, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, and Yad Vashem chairman Rabbi Israel Meir Lau. In the Hall of Remembrance, Trump will lay a wreath on a stone slab under which ashes from the extermination camps are buried. El Maleh Rachamim, a Jewish prayer for the victims, will be sung by a cantor.
Engraved on the mosaic floor of the Hall of Remembrance are the names of 22 Nazi murder sites, symbolic of the hundreds of extermination and concentration camps, transit camps and killing sites that existed throughout Europe.