Siddur (Prayer book) issued at liberation
Resource TypeBooks & Periodicals
Date of Creation[before 1945]
Administrative/Biographical HistoryMayer Levit was born in July 20, 1911 in Działoszyce, Poland to a religious and poor family. His parents were Bluma (née Mendel) Levit (b. circa 1877, Działoszyce, Poland; d. September 2, 1942, Działoszyce, Poland) and Mordechai Mendel Levit (birth and death dates unknown); the couple had six children.
Mayer worked as a tailor in Kraków, and worked a year in Paris in 1937. In 1938, he returned to Kraków, and to Działoszyce when the war began. When the Germans began deporting Jews in his home community, he and one of his brothers were put on a train and assigned to a small labour camp near Kraków (possibly a satellite of Płaszów). His mother, unable to walk to the train station, was shot on the outskirts of Działoszyce along with many others.
Mayer and his brother were sent to Buchenwald and separated. His tallis and tefillin were taken from him. From Buchenwald he was transferred to the Mittelbau main camp, then to Bergen-Belsen. He was liberated when the British army arrived in the spring of 1945. At the time of his liberation he was given a prayer book and hand towel. None of his siblings survived the Holocaust.
Mayer lived as a displaced person at Bergen-Belsen and Hanover. In 1948 he received a visa to immigrate to Canada. On June 2, 1948, Mayer left Bremerhaven for Halifax, where his ship, the Ernie Pyle, was met by representatives of the Canadian Jewish Congress, who wanted him to proceed to Winnipeg. Instead, Mayer moved to Montreal, where he found work as a tailor.
Mayer married Eva Levit in 1949; the couple had one daughter, Bluma (Judy). In 1960, the family moved to Vancouver, where Mayer eventually opened a tailor shop. He was a member of Chabad Downtown Vancouver. In 1977, he provided testimony to Yad Vashem Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority recording the names and birth and death dates of members of his family who were murdered in Poland during the Holocaust.
Eva Levit died in 1993. Mayer Levit died in April, 2000.
Extent & Medium1 book : 21.5 x 14 cm
Scope & ContentBlack prayer book issued at the time of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen. Mayer Levit used this prayer book until his death in April, 2000.
Physical Characteristics and Technical RequirementsPrayer book is fragile and binding is taped together. Access is restricted for preservation reasons.