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The Prague Torah - Holocaust Memorial Torah #995

For more than a thousand years Jews had lived in Bohemia and Moravia and developed a rich Jewish culture. Branching out from a central hub in Prague, at least 350 synagogues have been known to exist. After the German invasion in 1939, the historical congregations were closed down and their synagogues were destroyed or deserted.

In 1942 members of Prague’s Jewish community decided to gather the religious treasures from the destroyed synagogues. They persuaded the German occupants to accept their plan and so they collected more than 100,000 artifacts and brought them to the Jewish Museum of Prague. Among the artifacts were about 1,800 Torah scrolls, which were labeled in Czech and German with a description of the place it came from. Except for one survivor, all the curators and cataloguers of the museum were eventually deported to Terezin and Auschwitz.

After the war, the scrolls were transferred to the abandoned synagogue at Michle outside Prague. In 1964, the Memorial Scrolls Committee of Westminster Synagogue in London arranged the shipment of 1,546 Torah Scrolls to London, where they were cataloged, restored and repaired, to be eventually sent to synagogues and organizations all over the world for religious and educational purposes.

B'nai Israel proudly holds the Sefer Torah #995. This scroll originated from Turnov in the northern Czech Republic.

The Memorial Scrolls Trust, a U.K. non-profit organization, has recently begun to reach out to synagogues and other institutions who received the Czech Scrolls to gather and record up to date information about them. They plan to continue to build their website, creating "a repository of all knowledge concerning the 1564 scrolls.” More information about the Memorial Scrolls Trust is available on their website.


Tue, December 11 2018 3 Tevet 5779