Home - What's New
About the Guild
Guild Board
Join the Guild
News & Events
Article Index
Favorite Links
Pomegranate Boutique
Member Classifieds

Members Login

Paper Pomegranate
Web Editor Contact


Pomegranate Guild > Long Island Group Stitches Holocaust Stories

The Long Island Study Group was recently contacted by the Nassau County Holocaust Museum to expand on a project they were doing. We were to take Holocaust survivors' stories and turn them into needlework. The exhibit is entitled "The Fabric of Their Lives."

According to Brenda Zangre, "The only requirement placed on ourselves was that the pieces should be 18 inches square, 18 representing chai, life."

Photos and survivor stories follow.

Miriam, Hans and Renata Kahn: Save The Baby
(testimony of Renate Kahn Peshkin, 2004)
by Shula Mustacchi

Shula Mustacchi, at left, and Renate Kahn Peshkin admire Shula's stitched piece
commemorating Renate's parents' memories of "Kristallnacht"

In 1936, Miriam and Hans Kahn, recently married and in their 20s,were living in Leipzig,Germany. Every day the Germans made new laws making it harder and harder for Jews to survive.The Kahns wanted to leave Germany,but Miriam had already given her passport to her younger sister Sophie to go to Equador, believing that she, being single, needed the passport more than Miriam did. Miriam wrote frantically to relatives from around the world to send them the affidavits that would allow the Kahns to secure visas. It was becoming increasingly difficult for Hans to find work.

To their joy, Miriam gave birth in 1938 to a baby girl whom they named "Renate". The Kahns lived in an apartment house.One night there was an ominous knock on their door. Several men,whom they recognized as neighbors, took Hans away. At 2 o'clock in the morning, a neighbor's wife taunted Renate that Hans was dead. Fortunately, Hans was not dead; he returned the next morning alive, but beaten and bloodied. The Kahns vowed that if they could not obtain a visa, they would at least get their daughter out of Germany. Miriam devised a plan. It was for Hans' sister Erna, who lived in Amsterdam, to come to Leipzig alone but with her daughter's passport, and return to Amsterdam with baby Renate. The plan was successful. Now only MIriam and Hans were still in Germany.

November 9th,1938, was that horrible night known as "Kristallnacht",(the Night of Broken Glass). Miriam and Hans heard the sound of broken glass and the terrible things that were happening in the streets.At dawn, although it was risky, Hans, with his blond hair and blue eyes,ventured out. Back in their apartment, he described the Jewish owned shops smashed and looted, synagogues ablaze---their Torah scrolls in gutters and books burned. Deciding to leave Leipzig, they took a few valuables in the baby carriage and made their way to Dusseldorf and the Rhine River where they bribed the captain of a small boat to take them to Holland. The boat was stopped by the Germans and searched. Miriam, who was very beautiful, pretending to be a charwoman with her dark hair covered by a scarf, flirted with the German soldiers, while Hans hid under the floorboards. Eventually, they reached Amsterdam where they were reunited with their daughter Renate and with Erna, her husband Norbert, and their daughter, Ulla. Being a German, Hans was interned in a Dutch camp in Helifutslois where conditions were not too bad.

Meanwhile, Miriam continued to beseech relatives for affidavits. Finally,two affidavits came from cousins in the United States. Miriam, Hans and Renate set sail for America on the SS Statendam on November 11, 1939, two months after the war started. Erna, Norbert and Ulla Levinson, believing that they would be safe in Holland, decided not to risk the trip. They died tragically in Auschwitz.

Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4
Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7

Originally Posted: December 23, 2005
Last Updated: August 1, 2010

Return to Top