News & Events

TALES FROM THE ARCHIVES:

Collection Highlights:

The Museum is in the process of refreshing a portion of the Warsaw Ghetto exhibit space. Updates will feature artifacts depicting aspects of pre-war European Jewish life as well as ghetto life.

One of the most interesting artifacts going on display is a wimpel--a swaddling cloth used to hold an 8 day old baby boy during his Brit Milah (circumcision). Subsequently, the cloth was cut into strips and stitched together into a long narrow sash used to bind the Torah after it was read from in the synagogue. The wimpel was embroidered or painted in Hebrew with the wish that the child learn Torah, be raised to do good deeds, and be brought to the chupah (marriage canopy). Often the cloth also contained a picture of a chupah and a Torah as part of its design. Our wimpel was donated by Fred Strauss.

Please read about Fred’s wimpel in his own words:

“A wimpel was used in German speaking areas. My wimpel was brought to America by my grandfather in March 1938, six months after we arrived here. Just before leaving Germany, my grandfather went to the synagogue to retrieve the wimpel. On Kristallnacht, later that year, the synagogue, along with many others in Germany, was torched. Torah scrolls and prayer books were dragged outside and set on fire. To the best of my knowledge my wimpel was the only survivor. The synagogue was located in Polch, Germany.”

Do you have artifacts depicting interesting aspects of pre-war Jewish life or life in the ghettos? Please contact Museum Archivist Felicia Williamson at 469-399-5220 or mail to:fwilliamson to discuss potential donation.