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Jews from Buchenwaid Camp Celebrate Chanukah in Palestine Settlement

December 3, 1945
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The traditional celebration of Chanukah took on added significance this year for the 42 pioneers of Kibbutz Buchenwald, as they watched a procession, yesterday, of 300 children bearing torches and lanterns made of grapefruit shells from the fruit of their own groves, wind its way around the farm settlement of Afikim, whose water-tower was topped by a huge electric menorah.

After the children’s procession, led by youngsters from their own ranks, the members of Kibbutz Buchenwald mingled with Afikim’s settlers to sing the traditional songs of the Feast of Light. They heard the head of the community speak of “the memory of the great herces” of Israel. They raised square lanterns, with their four sides marked with transparent letters, each the initial of a word spelling out the phrase “Great Miracle Occurred Here.” To the members of Kibbutz Buchenwald, who last year lay dying, this phrase was especially significant, for each one it was a personal miracle.

Kibbutz Buchenwald, which at present occupies a section of the Afikim colony, was established in the death camp at Buchenwald by two of its inmates, Moshe Soderet and Berliner Posnansky. These men, a few weeks after their liberation by the Allies, decided that rather than wait for the world to settle their fate, they would set up their own group to prepare for colonization in Palestine.

With the assistance of a U.S. Army chaplain, Rabbi Robert Marcus, they enlisted a dozen more from the ranks of the thousands of dazed survivors of hunger and torture, and within a few weeks were able to leave the concentration camp to go to a broken down farm, twenty miles away. After three months of strenuous labor, during which time they were joined by many recruits, including girls from Bergen Belsen, the first group was ready to leave for Palestine.

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