Holocaust Survivor Torah
Scroll # 1231 -- From the city of Frydek Mistek, Czechoslovakia
On permanent loan from the Memorial Scrolls Trust
The North Shore Jewish Center has been the home of this Holocaust Survivor Torah for many years. It was written in the early twentieth century and was originally located in the Czechoslovakian town of Frydek Mistek.
Frydek Mistek was a city is the Moravian-Silesian region of the Czech Republic. Jews settled in Frydek Mistek after the emancipation of the Austro-Hungarian Jews in 1848.
After World War I, with the establishment of the Republic of Czechoslovakia, Jews were recognized as a national minority. The Jews of Frydek Mistek became active in local politics and were active in Zionism. In 1921, there were 960 Jews living in the community. By 1930, there were only 368 Jews living there as many left for larger towns and cities.
In 1939, Germany occupied the region which began an era of discrimination and violence against the Jews. By the end of 1942, most of the Jews in the region were in the Terezin Ghetto from which they were deported to concentration camps where most were killed.
The synagogue in Frydek Mistek was destroyed in 1939. Before it was destroyed, 15 documents, 12 books and 176 ritual objects from the community were transferred to the Central Jewish Museum in Prague. The Jewish Federation in Prague had convinced the Nazis that they should be allowed to collect all the Jewish artifacts throughout the country. The items were catalogued. More than 1,500 torahs were stored there. In 1964, the scrolls were bought from the government by a trust that was formed in England — The Memorial Scrolls Trust. In 1964, 1,564 scrolls arrived in London. Over several months a team of sofrim (scribes) examined the scrolls to determine those which were kosher, could be repaired and/or restored and which were in such a poor condition could only be used as part of a memorial. The scrolls have subsequently been allocated to communities and organizations around the world.
The next time you are in the lobby of our synagogue, take a moment to look at the memorial torah with its original tallit tie binder that is displayed in a plexiglass case in the shape of a Magen David.
Information regarding the Memorial Scrolls Trust
can be found at www.memorialscrollstrust.org