A Survivors' Haggadah

On the eight day of Passover, as an introduction to the yizkor service, I read from A Survivors' Haggadah. In 1946 the Jews in the DP camps around the city of Munich organized, with help from the United States' 3rd Army, a seder. Imagine the scene and the emotion. It is just a year after the end of the war in Europe. The Jews are still coming to terms with their families being annihilated. They can't return to their homes because there are pogroms in Poland and other eastern European countries. America lists the German Jews as enemy nationals. Many want to move to Palestine but Great Britain has a very strict immigration policy and quota in force. America, Canada, and many countries in South America also have restrictive quotas. So the Jews in 1946 who have managed to survive the horrors of the Holocaust have no place to go. 

In the DP camps they find at least that General Eisenhower and his Jewish liaison  Rabbi Judah Nadich are supportive. They allowed the Jews to organize, to publish a newspaper, and to take care of their religious needs. As Passover approached the Jews were able to secure food and haggadot and to even publish a haggadah supplement. This pamphlet resurfaced a few years ago and Prof. Saul Touster edited it with a historical introduction and comments on each page.

All of the readings point to a commitment to live - to live despite Hitler and to live in memory of their relatives. The readings also focus on their dream to move to Palestine and live the Zionist dream. It is a remarkable piece of literature and is very inspirational. 

Today we may struggle with the phrase from the haggadah, "in every generation each person must imagine that s/he took part in the Exodus". This haggadah brings that statement to life. Out of the nightmare of the Holocaust dreams emerged.