Librarian's Lobby
by Daniel D. Stuhlman
March 2000


The Library's annual Pesah exhibit is now open. The theme is: The Four Cups. In addition to haggadot, the exhibit includes Pesah themed kiddush cups from the collection of Albert and Judy Milstein and contemporary kiddish cups. When the Yeshiva students are on vacation before Pesah (April 13-19) we encourage school groups to visit the Library. The Tiferet Asher is still available from the Hebrew Theological College office or Amazon.com.

Passover Story from Harvard

In the March-April issue of Harvard Magazine (page92c) is an article by Deborah Schneider about Pesah haggadah that was issued for a seder in the Munich, Germany, area on April 15-16, 1946. This was the first Pesah after World War II.

Saul Touster, a retired attorney and professor, was cleaning his father's papers and a pamphlet with the Army's big A, insignia of the Third Army fell to the floor. Upon examining it he found out it was a Pesah Haggadah. On the cover was the place and date, Munich Enclave, April 15-16, 1946. At first glance Touster thought the haggadah was for Army personnel in Germany, but as he examined it he was struck by the stark woodcuts of scenes from concentration camps. Touster realized that this haggadah recast the tradition text in terms of liberation from the camps.
 

Moved by the images, Touster decided to find out more about the pictures and why the Army published this booklet. He also wondered how the book came into his father's possession since his father had been a soldier in South Pacific and was never in Europe during the war or in 1946. After retiring from teaching American studies and legal studies at Brandeis, he had time to pursue his quest. This research project became like detective work as the pieces of the puzzle were assembled.
 

It took him two years to uncover the story. His father was given the rare haggadah as a token of appreciation for his work helping displaced persons. Touster found the name of the Lithuanian writer, Yosef Dov Sheinson,who edited and arranged the haggadah. The ink drawing and texts in modern Hebrew and Yiddish were his work. Touster found the American Army chaplain named in the book, Rabbi Abraham Klausner, living in retirement in Santa Fe. One of Rabbi Klausner's official duties was to hold services for American GIs. He bent the rules to hold a seder for camp survivors. He wanted to provide a seder and a square meal for the undernourished civilians.
 

Touster identified the woodcut artist with the help of an archivist at Yad Vashem. The artist was Miklos Adler, a Hungarian artist who survived the war.
 

With his search complete, Touster was able to write the introduction and commentary for the facsimile edition of the Survivor's Haggadah with an English translation published in a trade edition by the Jewish Publication Society. (The Library will get a copy when it is available.)
 


Daniel D. Stuhlman is president of Stuhlman Management Consultants, Chicago, IL, a firm helping organizations turn data and information into knowledge. We are looking for new clients and opportunities. Visit our web site to learn more about knowledge management and what our firm can do for you. Previous issues of Librarian's Lobby can be found at: http://home.earthlink.net/~DDStuhlman/liblob.htm.

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 ©2003 by Daniel D. Stuhlman. All rights reserved.
Last revised July 8, 2003