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Lost Torah Scroll from Holocaust Plunderings Finds Home at UAlbany's Center for Jewish Studies

Contact: Catherine Herman (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 10, 2005) -- The University at Albany Center for Jewish Studies and University Libraries will mark the installation of a Czech Torah Scroll salvaged from the Holocaust, with a celebration featuring live klezmer music and a kosher reception Sunday, November 13, 2005, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Science Library Standish Room on the 3rd floor of the University at Albany uptown campus. The scroll is a gift to the University from Mr. and Mrs. Warren and Hedy ('60) Bagatelle to mark the inauguration of the Center for Jewish Studies in April 2002.

University at Albany President Kermit L. Hall said, "If not for the vision and generosity of the Bagatelles in preserving this major historical resource, its connection to a community might have been lost and forgotten forever. The University is honored to continue to preserve this legacy and provide access for future generations of students, scholars and community members."

Following Nazi Germany's conquest of Czechoslovakia in 1939, Hitler's regime plundered approximately 2,000 Torah scrolls and amassed them in the Jewish Museum in Prague, where they remained until 1948. After the Communist coup of ‘48, the scrolls were transferred to Michle Synagogue in the outskirts of Prague where they remained until 1963 when a British art dealer, Eric Estorick, arranged for 1,564 scrolls to be acquired by London philanthropist, Ralph Yablon. The Memorial Scrolls Trust, located in London's Westminster Synagogue, was established in 1964 with the aim of cataloguing and repairing the deteriorating testimonials of history and distributing them to Jewish communities around the world.

Scroll No. 1204 from the town of Horovice, outside of Prague, is now in the University at Albany, where it will be on display for most of the year at the Center for Jewish Studies, and alternately housed in the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives.

The event is free and open to the public, but space is limited so please RSVP to (518) 442-5373 or For further information, contact Yoel Hirschfeld at (518) 591-8514.


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