Torah scroll at UAlbany
 

Czech Memorial Scroll

Following Nazi Germany’s conquest of Czechoslovakia in 1939, and the subsequent deportation of the region’s Jews to concentration camps, Hitler’s regime sought to establish a museum to the “extinct” Jewish race. Using Jewish slave labor, the Nazis hoarded private property seized from Jewish homes and synagogues throughout Czechoslovakia. Approximately 2000 plundered Torah scrolls were amassed in the Jewish Museum in Prague, where they remained until 1948.

Torah Scroll at UAlbanyFollowing the Communist coup that year, the scrolls were transferred to Michle Synagogue in the outskirts of Prague where they remained in poor conditions. A timely philanthropic effort to rescue these rapidly deteriorating testimonials to the destroyed Jewish communities of Czechoslovakia resulted in the establishing of the Memorial Scrolls Trust, located in London’s Westminster Synagogue. 1564 scrolls were transported there with the aim of distributing them to Jewish communities around the world.
 
In April 2002, Mr. and Mrs. Warren and Hedy (’60) Bagatelle donated the funds to make it possible for one of the salvaged scrolls which originated from the town of Horovice (outside of Prague) to be loaned permanently to the University. Thanks to their vision and generosity, future generations of students, scholars and community members now have access to this major historical resource, and a connection to a lost yet not forgotten community. The scroll can be found on display on the third floor of the University’s Science Library. For more information regarding the Memorial Scrolls Trust, see www.memorialscrollstrust.org.

Torah Scroll at UAlbany number 1204