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Holocaust Survivor’s Hidden Haggadah Found

Passover prayerbook scrawled in diary donated to Yad Vashem

by
Gabriela Geselowitz
April 06, 2015
Regina Honigman's diary. (Yad Vashem)

Regina Honigman’s diary. (Yad Vashem)

Yad Vashem’s research department discovered a handwritten Passover haggadah inside the diary of Regina Honigman, a prisoner at the Nazi labor camp Gabersdorf, in Czecheslovakia, where she worked in a linen thread factory. Honigman kept a diary during her time there, a book she also used for her prayers, to write letters which were never sent, and as a makeshift Haggadah. The diary included poetry and quotes from other women at the camp, and when Honigman’s daughters donated it to Yad Vashem in 2005, the research center began attempting to track down the more than 40 women named in the book.

The haggadah written in the pages of Honigman’s diary modified the Passover prayer book to reflect the women’s experience in the camp. “Avadim Hayinu: We were slaves in Egypt once and now in Gabersdorf again,” Honigman wrote. “In history we were at your mercy not to swallow us… The triumphal day will come to Gabersdorf. The gates will open and out will run the sad, lonely, exhausted mob, Chevra.”

Honigman’s version of “Dayenu,” seen below, featured rewritten lines such as, “Another night comes along, Dayenu!”

Honigman, born in 1918 in Zawierce, Poland, survived the war along with one brother. After the war she settled in Australia, where she died in 1992.

Gabriela Geselowitz is a writer and the former editor of Jewcy.com.

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