Holocaust Memorial Torah #313
Temple Israel is privileged to host Czech Memorial Torah Scroll #313. It is believed to be one of the Torahs from the town of Ceske Budejovice written in the middle of the 19th century. It comes to us on “permanent loan” from the Memorial Scrolls Trust located in London, England.
More information on the Jews of Ceske Budejovice can be found at the Beit Hatfutsot – The Museum of the Jewish Peoples website.
The Memorial Scrolls Trust
In 1942, a group of members of Prague’s Jewish Community devised a way to bring the religious treasures from the deserted provincial communities to the comparative safety of Prague. The Nazis were persuaded to accept this plan and more than 100,000 items were sent to the Jewish Museum in Prague.
Among them were about 1,800 Torah Scrolls. Each was meticulously recorded on a card index by the Museum’s staff with a description of the Scroll and the place from which it came. In 1956-59 they were transferred to the synagogue in Michle, a Prague suburb.
In 1964, the Memorial Scrolls Trust a committee of Westminster Synagogue in London arranged for the shipment of 1,564 scrolls to the Synagogue where they were catalogued then repaired and restored when possible. Each Torah was given a numbered brass plaque to identify its origin. Scrolls that could not be made fit for synagogue use were sent to religious and educational institutions as solemn memorials. Those that were repaired and could be used in religious service were sent to fulfill requests of synagogues all over the world in return for a contribution toward restoration expenses.
The Memorial Scrolls Trust work continues; tracking and ensuring the proper care and use of the rescued Scrolls. The trust has recently begun to reach out to synagogues and other institutions who received the Czech scrolls to gather updated information about them. They plan to continue to enhance their website so it becomes “a repository of all knowledge concerning the 1564 scrolls, the Jewish history of the towns they came from, the Jews of those towns, their fate, survivors stories, photos etc. Also where the scrolls are now, how they are used and honoured etc.”
More information about the Memorial Scrolls Trust is available on their website.