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Liberated Jews in Germany Observe Passover As Guests of American Jewish Soldiers

March 29, 1945
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

In all of Germany’s oldest Jewish settlements – Frankfurt, Cologne, Trier – American Jewish soldiers this evening began the traditional observances of Passover.

The handful of Jewish of civilians who remain in this area will celebrate their first open passover in more than a decade as guests of the American soldiers as a result of a decision by the military authorities who ruled that this would not constitute fraternization with the enemy since the Jews, having been legally outlawed by the Germans, were, therefore, not enemy nationals. In addition, civilian attendance at religious services of soldiers has been authorised in cases where no local leader of the religion exists.


Of all the Seders being held along this front tonight at various places, the choicest location will be the Breesen Hotel in Bad-Godesberg, where Chaplain Sidney Lefkowite, of Richmond Va., will preside over the feast and religions ceremories in the conference room where Hitler conferred with British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, in 1938, a few weeks before the Munich Pact was signed. What will be probably the largest Seder will be held in Erefeld in the only comparatively intact synagogue found so far in Germany. Here, Chaplain Capt, Marwin Goldfine, of Philadelphia, will hold services for about 1,000 men. All new dishes – and therefore kosher for Passover – have been obtained from a German warehouse, In Cologne another American Jewish chaplain will conduct services for the city’s Jewish civilians in the ruins of the once impressive synagogue on Monart Strasse.

Many of the Seder locations, which were planned several weeks in advance, bad to be shifted suddenly due to the forward rush of the areas. Nevertheless, it is estimated that at least two-thirds of the Jewish soldiers will have an opportunity to participate, Men of the 9th Pactical Air Camps of the 9th Air Force will attend services in a former German barracks. Capt, Meyer Goldman is officiating at the services of the 29th TAC of the 9th Air Force, where Lieut Gen. Willian Food Simpson of the ninth Army and Brig-Gen. Richard Magent of the Air Force will be guests of honor.


Capt. Lefkowits, who has been storing his Passover supplies in a room adjoining Ritler’s former suite at the Breesen Hotel, said that the matzohs were baked in England for the American Jewish Welfare Board, the wine was obtained from a vintner in France, but Germen bens are supplying the baked eggs required at the boders German gardens are also providing the traditional bitter berhs, sychols of the oppression in Egypt, the escape from which Passover celebrates.

Wherever possible, men in the front lines across the Rhine are receiving time out to attend Seders, which is the customary procedure in the Army for all important religious observances. These boys will be taken to rear installations by truck and then returned to the lines.

The chaplains have worked terrifically hard to arrange these services and many of them are planning to conduct six or seven Saders and services within the next two days. Two of them, Capt. Wolf Plant and Capt, Herman Dicker will be celebrating passover in their own homeland, for they fled from here after the rise of Hitler.

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