York Liberal Jewish Community has very kindly been lent a Torah scroll by the Memorial Scrolls Trust, which looks after nearly 1600 Czech scrolls rescued from the Holocaust.
In 1942, a group of members of Prague’s Jewish community devised a way to bring the religious treasures from the deserted communities and destroyed synagogues to the comparative safety of the Prague Jewish Museum. The Nazis were persuaded to accept the plan and more than 100,000 artefacts were rescued. Among them were the Torah scrolls. Each was meticulously recorded. labelled and entered on a card index by the Museum’s staff with a description of the scroll and the place it had come from.
After the war, the scrolls were transferred to the ruined synagogue at Michle outside Prague where they remained until they came to London in the 1960s, paid for by the philanthropist Ralph Yablon, a member of Westminster.
The scrolls were repaired and the decision taken to lend them out to Jewish communities around the world, to bring new Jewish life where the Nazis had sought to destroy it.
York Liberal Jewish Community is one of the most recent new communities to have benefited from the loan of a scroll by the Trust. Numbered 804, our scroll is an ‘orphan’, which is to say that its provenance is not recorded. We are, however, extremely proud to have been able to provide this orphan with a new home and its part in the revival of Jewish life in York is, we believe, an appropriate rebuttal of Nazi genocide.
To read more about the scrolls’ remarkable story, visit the Memorial Scrolls Trust’s own website here.