Bu Aryeh Savir
Tazpit News Agency
Before MK Uri Ariel, Minister of Construction and Housing, embarked on his trip to Poland together with some 60 Members of Knesset he received a special request – he was provided with a Tallit belonging to Shlomo Yom Tov Hauft, a Holocaust survivor, and was asked to recite the Kaddish in Auschwitz while donning it. The Tallit has a unique history; over eighty years old, it had accompanied Hauft throughout the Holocaust, hidden by him several times, once in the ground for a month. Minister Ariel received the Tallit and the unique request from Hauft’s son.
In Auschwitz Minister Ariel donned the Tallit and recited the Kaddish, explaining to those present the significance of the event. He mentioned his relatives who perished in the Nazi death camp: “My maternal grandfather Moshe, my maternal grandmother Sarah and my uncle Shmuel perished here together with their entire family. No one survived. My Father’s family left Germany in 1936. They survived.”
Hauft received the Tallit when he became Bar Mitzvah and he did his outmost during the Holocaust to fulfill the commandment of the Tallit, even though it was life endangering. Hauft managed to escape from Auschwitz, but his father did not; he died in the spring of 1944.
To the Hauft family the Tallit is the lone and most precious surviving article from Europe. It has gone through a special preservation process. After the Holocaust Hauft immigrated to Israel, becoming a politician in the Tsfat municipality.