An Ol' Broad's Ramblings
When Stella Knobel’s family fled World War II Poland in 1939, the only thing the 7-year-old girl could take with her was her teddy bear. For the next six years, the stuffed animal never left her side as the family wondered through the Soviet Union, to Iran and finally the Holy Land.
“He was like family. He was all I had. He knew all my secrets,” the 80-year-old said with a smile. “I saved him all these years. But I worried what would happen to him when I died.”
So when she heard about a project launched by Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust memorial and museum, to collect artifacts from aging survivors, she reluctantly handed over her beloved bear Misiu, Polish for “teddy bear,” so the memories of the era could be preserved.
“We’ve been through a lot together, so it was hard to let him go,” said Knobel, who was widowed 12 years ago and has no children. “But here he has found a haven.”
The miracle of those lives that were saved lives on through their own keepsakes.
On Sunday, Knobel’s tattered teddy bear was on display at Yad Vashem, one of more than 71,000 items collected nationwide over the past two years. With a missing eye, his stuffing bursting out and a red ribbon around his neck, Misiu was seated behind a glass window as part of the memorial’s “Gathering the Fragments” exhibit.
If you ever have the chance to go to Israel, Yad Vashem is a MUST.
If you can’t, the Holocaust Museum in D.C. is a second best in documenting the horrors of the slaughter brought about by a government of evil tyrants.