German president hosts grandchildren of woman who took 1931 photograph in Kiel, one of whom weeps openly after lighting menorah.
A Jewish heirloom at the center of one of the most searing images of the Nazis’ rise has returned to Germany, as political leaders pledged on Monday to combat a resurgence of antisemitism.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier joined in the lighting of the Hanukkah menorah, a nine-branched candelabrum used during the so-called Festival of Lights, which belonged to the Posners, a German Jewish family.
In 1931, a rabbi’s wife, Rachel Posner, photographed the family’s brass menorah on their windowsill in the northern port city of Kiel.
Opposite their apartment was the Nazi party’s regional headquarters with a large swastika flag hanging menacingly from the facade. On the back of the snapshot Rachel wrote an inscription: “The flag says ‘death to Judaism,’ the light says ‘Judaism will live for ever.’”
The image came to stand for the looming threat to Europe’s Jews — six million of whom would perish in the Holocaust — but also Jewish resilience.
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