Waves Sharon Hanukka

  • Issue: December 1995
  • Designer: I. Gabay
  • Stamp size: 40 x 25.7 mm
  • Plate no.: 263
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Offset

This miniature Hanukka lamp (menorah), measuring a mere 5 x 10cm, was crafted in silver in the Lodz Ghetto in 1944 by the artist Zusia Ejbuszyc, and was dedicated to Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, whom the Germans had chosen in 1939 to head the "Judenrat" - the 'Jewish Council.

The folding menorah looks from the outside like a closed book. It has tongs and nine small vessels for oil, and can be used to fulfil the religious precept of lighting candles on Hanukka even while travelling.

After World War II, the menorah was found among the ruins of Rumkowskis home in the area of the former ghetto. It was donated to the museum in 1983.

Lodz's prewar population of 250,000 made it the second largest Jewish community in Poland. The ghetto was sealed on May 1,1940, beginning a period of indescribable suffering for the 164,000 Jews packed inside. Thousands more Jews from other areas were transferred to the ghetto in subsequent months. As in other ghettos, in Lodz - the most tightly closed and isolated of the ghettos - the Jews suffered from starvation and disease, resulting in a very high death rate.

The Lodz ghetto was the last ghetto on Polish soil. German policy-makers in the region wanted to exploit the Jewish labour force as much as possible. Rumkowski attributed the ghetto's longevity to this policy, and he believed that as long as the Jews were productive and economically beneficial to the Germans, the Germans would be in maintaining the ghetto's existence. The entire ghetto became a large labour camp, that with great effort, and despite extreme shortages of raw material and proper means of production, managed to manufacture a wide range of products.

During 1942, some 70,000 Jews were transported to the death camp at Chelmno, yet the ghetto continued to function for an additional two years. The remaining Jews were transported during the summer of 1944 to Chelmno and then to Auschwitz - Birkenau, thereby causing the demise of the Lodz ghetto.

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