The Menorah That Defied the Nazis

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10 Dec 2015

menorahwebIf you’ve been active on social media this week, you might have seen this iconic photograph: a menorah stands on a windowsill while across the street Nazi flag hangs. Rare Historical Photographs has the full story.

In 1931 the last night of Chanukah fell on a Friday night. In the small German town of Kiel, Rabbi Akiva Posner, the rabbi of the community, hurried his family to light the menorah before the Sabbath began. The local Nazi headquarters was across the street.

Rachel, his wife, snapped the photograph, and, realizing the importance of what she witnessed, she wrote on the back of the photograph: “Their flag wishes to see the death of Judah, but Judah will always survive, and our light will outlast their flag.”

In 1934 the Posners left Germany for Israel. Before he left, he warned both Jews and Germans about the evils of the Nazi regime. His prescience saved an entire community, as only eight of the 500 Jews in Kiel perished in the Holocaust.

Yehudah Mansbuch, the grandson of the family, has the original snapshot; the menorah is held by Yad Vashem and is returned to the family each year to be used during Chanukah.

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.