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Memorial plaque from Iaşi returns to the synagogue

On June 22nd, as part of a special dedication ceremony, a memorial plaque that was donated to the Ghetto Fighters’ House archive by Itzhak Efraim Benditer , was placed on the wall of the museum synagogue in the presence of Benditer and his family. 
The memorial plaque was drawn in 1941 by Itzhak when he was just 14 years old and it commemorates the members of the Great Synagogue in Iaşi, Romania who perished during the pogrom that took place seventy years ago on June 29th, 1941.  The names were written in ink with a fountain pen.
Itzhak Efraim Benditer, who is the son of Efraim Benditer and Chaja-Perl (nee Schwemer) was born in Iaşi on July 18, 1927.  In June 1941 thousands of Jews from Iaşi were slaughtered by the Romanians. In the fall of 1941, the Jews began to come out of their hiding places and returned to the synagogue. Itzhak, know for his artistic talents, was asked by his father, who was the chazzan, to draw the memorial plaque.  The plaque was respectfully placed on the wall of the synagogue.  Itzhak was asked to prepare memorial plaques for other synagogues in the city and quickly his work was in demand.  From September 1941 through the spring of 1942, Itzhak prepared around 12 such plaques.  They were framed and hung in synagogues throughout the city.
Benditer survived the Holocaust and immigrated to Israel in 1947.  In 1981 a relative found one of the plaques while visiting Romania, but was not allowed to take it beyond country borders.  In 1998 two other family members found two more plaques that had been kept in a dusty corner of the room used for the Jewish traditional ritual washing and clothing of the dead (tahara) in the Jewish cemetery of Iaşi.  Following the discovery, one of the plaques was hung in the ritual cleansing room and the other was brought to Israel and given to Itzhak.  In 2010, Itzhak donated the memorial plaque to the Ghetto Fighters’ House archive.

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