Passover Haggadah used by Jews serving in Iran in WWII makes its way to Israel

( Israeli Aviram Paz recently came across two rare versions of the Passover Haggadah, including one used by Jews serving in Iran during World War II. Paz, 60, has been amassing a collection of 8,000 Passover Haggadot for years and storing them in a secure climate-controlled room at his home in Kibbutz Mishmar Haemek.

Members of the U.S. Navy read from the Passover Haggadah at a seder in 2010. Credit: U.S. Navy.

One Passover Haggadah found by Paz was made by Jewish soldiers who served in the British military during World War II and were stationed in Iran from 1942 to 1945.

“We’re talking about dozens of fighters who called themselves ‘Jewish soldiers in Babylonian exile,’” said the 60-year-old Paz, according to Israel Hayom. “They were involved in defending oil facilities and refineries in the city of Abadan from possible attacks by the German and Japanese militaries.”

The soldiers used simple paper pages to make this Passover Haggadah, copies of which were printed using a typewriter. The covers were made from cardboard used by British police to pack equipment.

Paz said the Passover Haggadah in his possession is the only one made by the soldiers that still exists in the world.

“By the way, these soldiers also established a newspaper called Einav, with an opinion section called ‘On the Rivers of Babylon,’” Paz said.

Another Passover Haggadah that Paz was able to get his hands on was one used by soldiers from the Givati Brigade’s legendary reconnaissance company. The Passover Haggadah was made by soldiers in 1954 and contains simple stencil pages. Throughout the Haggadah, there are illustrations and symbols, including the famed insignia of the Givati Brigade at the time with cactuses and a sword.

“This is a Haggadah with the style of the Palmach and the kibbutzim,” Paz said. “In it, there are illustrations of tools used by the Israel Defense Forces in those days, mainly the jeeps of Samson’s Foxes (a commando unit during the 1948 War of Independence) and many words of exaltation.”

Posted on March 19, 2013 .