Monday 18 December 2017

100-year-old Czech scroll hailed as 'living memorial'

Fergus Black

A 100-year-old Czech scroll (right) that survived the Holocaust and ended up in Ireland more than 45 years ago was last night the centre of a special re-dedication ceremony in Dublin.

Memorial scroll 373, a handwritten parchment containing the books of the Bible, was crafted by Jews in a town just outside Prague. Its history and its journey to Ireland was recalled last night at a ceremony at the Dublin Progressive Jewish Synagogue attended by Rabbi David Goldstein of London and by the Czech Ambassador to Ireland, Tomas Kafka.

The scroll was one of thousands of Jewish scrolls and treasures collected in 1942 as the Nazis swept across Europe but instead of being destroyed they were sent to the Central Jewish Museum in Prague, where the curators catalogued, stored and labelled them.

The intention was to send them back to their respective synagogues until the scale of the Holocaust emerged. Even the curators who catalogued the treasures were sent to their deaths in concentration camps.

After the war and the communist takeover, 1,564 scrolls were bought to London in 1964 and distributed to synagogues all over the world with scroll 373 arriving in Dublin in 1965.

"This is not a museum exhibit, it's a living memorial because it is used every Saturday," said Dr Goldstein last night.

Irish Independent

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