Museum to Display Symbol of Defiance at Auschwitz

A shofar, or ram's horn, was smuggled in and blown by prisoners on holy days
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2019 9:05 AM CDT
Museum to Display Symbol of Defiance at Auschwitz
Stock image of a shofar.   (Getty/GWImages)

A Jewish museum in New York City on Monday will unveil a remarkable object—a shofar, or ram's horn trumpet, that was somehow smuggled into Auschwitz and used by prisoners as a symbol of hope and defiance, reports the New York Times. The shofar comes from Judith Tydor Schwartz, the daughter of Auschwitz survivor Chaskel Tydor, and the Times has the back story: Tydor, who was charged with handing out work assignments to fellow prisoners, once sent a group to a remote locale on Rosh Hashana so they'd be able to pray. When they returned, one of the prisoners informed Tydor they had blown a shofar. Later, a prisoner gave Tydor the very same shofar for safekeeping as the Nazis were emptying the camp near the end of the war.

“I’m going to die on this march," the prisoner told Tydor, who relayed the conversation to his daughter before his death. "If you live, take this shofar. Tell them we blew the shofar at Auschwitz.” It is that shofar that will go on display Monday at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, as part of an exhibition called "Auschwitz. Not Long Ago. Not Far Away." The traveling exhibition is "groundbreaking," per Israel National News, featuring 700 original objects and hundreds of photographs. (Auschwitz prisoners also managed to make beautiful music.)

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