This week, Israel (and the world) observe Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. Arutz Sheva reports on an exhibition opening before this solemn day on April 16, an exhibition that remembers the 1.5 million children murdered during the Holocaust:
Zeev Portenoy was nine when the Nazis invaded Tuchin, his Ukrainian hometown, in 1941, forcing his family and the other Jews into a ghetto while he went on the run.
For the next four years, he wandered aimlessly around the countryside, pretending to be Ukrainian or Polish just to survive. He knew he was Jewish but just didn’t understand why everyone wanted to kill him, writing down his experiences in a song.
“There was this fear that one day they would find me so I kept the song on me,” he said. “I put the song inside one of my long boots so that if they caught me and killed me, somebody would find the song.”
Now in his 80s, his voice breaks as he sings the words he wrote as a child: “I was still a small lad / when the Nazi beast / took over my life / And took me away from / My parents forever.”
He survived the genocide. But 1.5 million other Jewish children did not.
Their stories are the focus of a new exhibition at Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, which opened ahead Israel’s Holocaust memorial day which starts at sunset on Wednesday…
At the entrance is a long showcase inside which are dozens of worn teddy bears and dolls with china faces from the 1930s and 40s.
This is the world’s largest collection of surviving Holocaust-era toys.
“It sounds like a lot but if you think that each child had a toy – a doll or a teddy, or a small wooden toy – and then think that there are less than 50, then you realize how many didn’t survive,” Inbar said.