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Tree that survived the Holocaust gains new life in New York City

16 10 36
04.12.2021

(New York Jewish Week via JTA) — In January of 1943, Irma Lauscher, a teacher at the Theresienstadt concentration camp in Czechoslovakia, smuggled a tree into the camp so that the Jewish children imprisoned by the Nazis could celebrate Tu B’Shevat in a secret ceremony. The children used their water rations to nurture the sapling.

Of the 15,000 children who were imprisoned in Theresienstadt during the Holocaust, fewer than 200 survived. But the tree was still standing when the camp was liberated in 1945, and a sign was placed at its base marking it as a symbol of resilience.

“As the branches of this tree, so the branches of our people!” said the sign under the tree, which survivors named “The Tree of Life.” Lauscher, who survived the Holocaust, eventually was buried alongside the original tree in 1985.

In the 1980s, branch saplings were cut from the tree and planted in Jerusalem, as well as in San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia to accompany a traveling exhibit of treasures nearly lost in the Holocaust.

Now, New York City — home to the largest community of Holocaust........

© The Times of Israel


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