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Shabbat Candles in Auschwitz

Shabbat Candles in Auschwitz


I was born and grew up in an Orthodox home in the USSR, in the Carpathian Mountains (before this place was Hungary). We lived a double life. At home one thing, and in the school something different.

My parents were telling different stories about life before the war and during the war, specifically about the concentration camp. My mother was in two concentration camps. The first one was Auschwitz and the second one was Bergen Belsen.

The barrack was lit every Friday night with these candlesThey arrived in Auschwitz on the second day of Shavuot, and from that day they were counting the days to Shabbat. Every Friday she made two little candles from the margarine she saved and did not eat, and took some threads from the bottom of her dress and lit them. My mother encouraged all the other women in the barrack to do the same, and they all did it, so the barrack was lit every Friday night with these candles. She never lost her faith, and even after the war she was a very religious lady. She claimed that she survived only due to her Shabbat candles.

When in 1972 my parents made aliyah, moved to Israel, they went from house to house to teach the Russian Jews how to pray and how to light Shabbat candles. This was very important to my parents. I was taught from childhood how important Shabbat candles are.

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Olga Fin Toronto, Canada April 8, 2011

Shabbat Candles in Auschwitz Thank you everybody for all the wonderful comments Reply

Olga Fin Toronto, Canada April 5, 2011

Shabbat Candles in Auschwitz Dear Anonymous. Thank you very much for your wonderful comment. Yes, my mother was a really special person. Reply

Anonymous Oklahoma City via April 1, 2011

Such strength! To give up food for the body to ensure food for the soul speaks volumes!! G-d bless her! Reply

Olga Fin Toronto, Canada April 1, 2011

Shabbat Candles in Auschwitz Yes, you right. It was very difficult for them not to eat that margarine in save that for Shabbat. The little peace of margarine was given to them only once a week. I just don,t remember which day, but for sure not Fridays.
Thank you for a wonderful comment. Olga Reply

chana March 31, 2011

breath-taking. sounds so simple - giving up that margarine for candles. How many of us over-fed Westerners, fussing abiut our weight and curves and BMI have ever been hungry for more than a few hours.This woman was ravenous and faint for months, perhaps years.Mi keAmkha Yisrael, who is like the Nation of Israel? Reply

Mrs. Malka Esther Miller March 28, 2011

light in the darkness G-d bless her for her faith in such a dark place. She is truly an Eshet Chayil-a woman of valor in her generation. Reply

Yehudis Feinstein Tzfat, Israel March 28, 2011

You are a very special daughter from very special parents. Your family pass on the gift of Shabbos to others, and with this, they pass on the protection which Shabbos brings to them. You can be very proud of your family, and of yourself. Reply

Welcome to our candle-lighting section, where you will find the details and practicalities of lighting Shabbat candles, along with the meaning, spirituality and power of doing so . . .
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