Yad Vashem Barmitzvah and Batmitzvah Twinning Project

Make your Barmitzvah or Batmitzvah more meaningful by twinning it with a young victim of the Holocaust who tragically, was unable to celebrate this milestone in Jewish life.




For Keira Edwards, who recently twinned her Batmitzvah with Lydia Fischer, putting this poster together describing the family and life of Lydia, who perished aged 10, at Auschwitz in 1944, brought extra meaning to her own Batmitzvah.

Yad Vashem UK Foundation sent Keira and her family a folder of information about Lydia so they could research her story. Keira made a demonstration board which was displayed by the bimah during her batmitzvah ceremony, and she also referenced the twinning during her Dvar Torah. Her portion was the Ten Commandments, and she talked about how the Germans did not follow these during the Second World War.

“I felt good that I was keeping Lydia’s memory alive,” she says. “It felt like doing a good deed for someone else.”

keira 2
Photo: Paul Lynch


Sammy twinned his Barmitzvah with Samuel Swaab, this is the moving speech that he gave at his Barmitzvah.

‘……It is amazing to share my bar mitzvah with all of you. But now, I want to tell you about a special boy who never had the chance to become bar mitzvah. He was called Samuel and had his birthday in December just like I do. Samuel Swaab was born in December 1933 in Amsterdam. He was murdered by the Nazis in April 1943…….. He was just 9 years old.

If he had lived he would have been exactly one year older than my Grandpa Ronnie, who will be 80 this month. Samuel never grew old enough to have a Bar Mitzvah, get a job, get married, and have children or grandchildren.  Nearly all his family were killed during the holocaust; his three sisters, his parents, his grandparents and most of his many uncles, aunts and cousins. His name was given to me by the Yad Vashem Twinning Project to keep his memory alive.

Today I am wearing one of their memorial pins as a tribute to him. As part of the preparation for my Barmitzvah, I have researched Samuel’s family and his life. A special thank you to my Auntie Naomi for helping me out during her trip to Amsterdam this summer.  I have prepared a presentation on Samuel. So to find out more about him please have a look at my slides which are displayed here today.

Learning about Samuel has helped me understand a little about the Holocaust and has made me realise how lucky I am to be able to celebrate my Barmitzvah today…….’


If you would like to twin a Bar or Batmitzvah, what can you do?

  • Research details of the family of your victim using the Yad Vashem Website.
  • Research the community they came from via the Website
  • Learn about their experiences during the Holocaust (information will be given)
  • Receive a special certificate from Yad Vashem in Jerusalem

We would like to encourage young boys and girls to twin their Barmitzvah or Batmitzvah with a young victim of the Holocaust who would obviously not have been able to have a Barmitzvah.

We would give you the name of a victim who has a similar name or birthday as the young person who will be celebrating a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. With it, we can also furnish a study guide to learn about the victim, their family and the community he/she came from as well as learning a little about the victim’s experience during the Holocaust.

For more details or to arrange a ‘twinning’.
Please contact Evelynne or Sandra – office@yadvashem.org.uk or call 020 8359 1146

Please download a demo certificate