Holocaust Scroll #609

Beth Shalom sent this letter in 1967 to the Memorial Scrolls Committee to ask for “a small Torah, about two feet tall, that both our Bar Mitzva candidates and the old in years might be able to carry about the Synagogue with ease.” (Click to enlarge)

One of the Synagogue’s Scrolls is our smallest and yet most precious one, rescued from the fires of the Shoah (Holocaust) during World War II. Together with hundreds of synagogues around the world, we are privileged to house this Scroll on permanent loan from the Memorial Scrolls Trust. Dating back more than a hundred years ago, it reached us through a long and tortuous journey from Eastern Europe to England to Louisiana.

During the Nazi tyranny and machinery of murder, the 1564 Torah scrolls from this collection were all transferred to Michle Synagogue in suburban Prague, where they came under the ownership of Czechoslovakia’s Communist government in 1948. In 1963, an American art dealer negotiated their sale to London’s Westminster Synagogue.

The Memorial Scrolls Trust was established with the mission of integrating the Scrolls back into the life of Jewish congregations across the world and of keeping memories of their martyred communities of origin alive.

The Memorial Scrolls Trust is working tirelessly to ensure proper documentation and communication. You can see our community here on their website as well as hundreds of other communities around the world working to make this vision of eternal memory a reality.

Not only does Beth Shalom house this sacred scroll as a testament to our past, it is also an active scroll from which we read and study throughout the cycle of Jewish holidays and Torah readings. In so doing, we affirm the sacred Jewish principle of Zachor / To Remember, and to never allow something similar to happen again (L’Olam Lo Od.)

This plaque explains the history of our Holocaust Torah scroll and its travels from Czechoslovakia to England to Louisiana.