The Protective Knife

Relationship: unknown

My great-grandparents were not in the war. They were not in either war in fact. My family lived in the Pale of Settlement for generations. They were all Orthodox, spoke Yiddish along with a few other religions as was common at that time. The first war never affected them so I'm told, but they felt the start of the second. They were able to leave before the serious Pogroms began, sparing them the horrors that anti-Semitism presented. Luckily, we had friends in America that were able to help us reach the US without much trouble at all. The knife which is pictured is an old Japanese knife that my grandfather gave to me. Apparently he had used it as a navy chaplain while living on a base in Japan. He did not tell me much else, only that it had never failed him. I feel extremely lucky that the Morris family and the Dollin family were able to escape the horrors of WWII. They both ended up in Philadelphia working as tailors in one of the many factories. When I think of my family and I think of this knife, it reminds me how a little help from someone can truly mean the world to someone. This knife represents how my family experienced this idea. It may be small, the wood may be rotting, but it is still able to influence the world around it. I believe my grandfather was right when he told me that this knife never failed him. It never failed him. In the same way, our friends in America never failed us.

Year: 1927

– Akiva Dollin

Relationship:  unknown unknown