Accession Number: NEKHC:2009.195

Object: Challah Cloth

Category: Refugee; Arrival in England; Lingfield House;  Theresienstadt; Life after the Holocaust.

Physical Description:  White and blue embroidered cotton challah cloth. Blue embroidery and tassled edging.

Information on Item:  This Challah cloth was donated by Zdenka Husserl. It was used to cover the bread on Shabbat in Lingfield House.

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Further Information: This Challah cloth forms part of the Zdenka Husserl Collection. Zdenka was born in 1939, in Prague. Zdenka’s parents were Helena (nee Husserlova) and Pavel Husserl. In 1942, at three years old Zdenka was deported by the Nazi regime with her mother to Theresienstadt Concentration Camp and Ghetto. Zdenka’s mother and grandfather were sent to Auschwitz in 1944, her father having previously been sent to Lodz Ghetto. Zdenka remained in Theresienstadt until its liberation in May 1945, by which time she was 6 years old. After liberation Zdenka was brought to England as part of a scheme to aid surviving orphaned children liberated from the Nazi camp system.

A group of the children including Zdenka, lived in a house in Surrey and later in Isleworth in what was known as Lingfield House. Zdenka embroidered this Challah cloth herself, as she was talented at embroidery and sewing. She embroidered the text, edging, and also darned the cloth when it became worn. The cloth carries the message 'Remember the Sabbath day to make it Holy'. Speaking of Shabbat in Lingfield House, Zdenka says: ‘Shabbat was always very important because we didn’t have any holidays in the camp, I knew nothing about Jewish Holy Days and the West London Synagogue looked after us when we came to England, they sponsored the house, they gave money for clothing and so I think we had to learn something about the religious side of Jewish holidays. Sophie was a very good cook so we always had a special meal for Friday evening and it was just nice to light the candles’.