Israeli judge halts auction of 11-year-old Holocaust victim’s letter following family protest


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A court in Israel has blocked the sale of a letter written by an 11-year-old Polish girl who was killed in the Holocaust following a protest by family members.

Five letters, including the one by Rachel Mintz, were to be auctioned Tuesday at the Dynasty Auction House in Jerusalem. They were written by children in Poland to counterparts in prestate Israel before the outbreak of World War II.

The injunction from the Tel Aviv District Court halted the sale of all the letters.

Rachel’s letter described life in Poland in 1937 and talked about her desire to immigrate to Israel, according to The Times of Israel.

The seller is identified as Israeli businessman Dudi Zilbershlag, Haaretz reported. Zilbershlag, who said he bought the letters at the Jaffa Flea Market, is a member of the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum council. He had declined a request to give Rachel’s letter to her family or the Yad Vashem archive, saying it would cause him “irreparable” financial harm, The Times of Israel reported.

The starting bid for the letters was set at $400, according to Haaretz, and the auction house had offered to sell the letter to the family for $10,000, according to The Times of Israel.

“It is morally unacceptable and highly distasteful that anyone should trade in personal items, artifacts or documents of Holocaust victims or from the Holocaust era,” Yad Vashem said in a statement.

Recommended from JTA