Hanukkah During the Holocaust

Stand for Israel  |  December 1, 2021

The Holocaust was surely the darkest hour faced by the Jewish people. But just as they did during enslavement in Egypt or exile in Babylon, God’s children kept their faith and acted as “a light to the nations” (Isaiah 51:4) during the darkest days… even during Hanukkah.

Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, occurs during the darkest time of year. And so it is fitting that our friends at Yad Vashem, Israel’s official Holocaust memorial, share these testimonies of three Holocaust survivors who kept their faith and shined their light.

A Jewish boy in Romania during WWII, Yechezkel Hershtik recalls lighting Hanukkah candles while being transferred from one concentration camp to another.

Edith Rotschild, a Hungarian Jew who survived the Holocaust, also recalls lighting the menorah in the Nazi camp where she was imprisoned.

And Zissel Baum, a young Czech woman caught by the Nazis, remembers how threads from blankets were used to make Hanukkah candles in the labor camp where she was held.

So much darkness was seen and experienced by these three – and by so many millions more. But by sharing these stories of faith, each of these survivors is truly “a light to the nations.” May we all find hope and inspiration this Hanukkah in their words.

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