Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) recited the Kaddish prayer at Auschwitz on Monday wrapped in a special tallit (prayer shawl).
The tallit belonged to Shlomo Yom Tov-Hauft, a Holocaust survivor who received it as a Bar Mitzvah gift before the Holocaust. Hauft, who was deported to Auschwitz, made sure to hang on to the prayer shawl in any way possible, sometimes burying it and returning a month later to pick it up.
Hauft managed to escape Auschwitz, but his father was not as lucky and died there in 1944. After the Holocaust, Hauft made aliyah to Israel, settled in the northern city of Tzfat and later became a deputy mayor in the city.
The talit, which is over 80 years old, was preserved by the family all these years and is in good condition to this day. It, in essence, is the most precious object the Hauft family has left from this time period.
Minister Ariel received the tallit from Hauft’s son, Eliezer, who asked Ariel to wear the shawl when he visited Auschwitz as part of a delegation of more than 50 MKs who visited the camp on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Upon arriving in Auschwitz, Minister Ariel took the tallit, recited the Kaddish while wearing it, and explained its meaning.
Ariel also referred to his own relatives who perished in the death camps and said, "My maternal grandfather Moshe, my maternal grandmother Sarah and my uncle Shmuel, along with all their entire extended family, were murdered in the camps we visited today. Nothing was left of them.”