August 30, 2017

About Brith Sholom’s Holocaust Scroll

Brith Sholom’s Holocaust Scroll — MST#64Boskovice_scroll_page

During the Holocaust, the Nazis collected nearly all the Torah scrolls of the Jewish communities in Czecholovakia.  After World War II, the scrolls were brought to England for safekeeping.

During the past 50 years most of these precious scrolls were distributed to synagogues worldwide as a reminder of the destroyed Jewish communities and the way of life that existed before the Holocaust.

You can read more about this project, as well as find out about other scrolls which have been “adopted” and where they are — by going to www.memorialscrollstrust.org

“The story of the acquisition of 1,564 sacred Scrolls of the Law from Czechoslovakia which arrived at Kent House, the home of Westminster Synagogue, in February 1964, has passed into history as a small but remarkable episode in the tragedy of European Jewry.

To those who were entrusted with the Scrolls, they were a symbol of hope after a time of sorrow, and an intimate link with those synagogues and their congregations destroyed by the Nazis.  Over the decades since the Scrolls arrived, the shelves on which they were so gently laid have grown emptier, as one after another they have been sent out to be restored to their proper place in Jewish life.

After fifty years, when most of the Scrolls have found new homes, the Trust is charged with the next phase of its work.  It must ensure that those synagogues who have received scrolls are aware of what they have, that they investigate the scrolls’ original homes or what is left of them, and hand on to the next generation the precious legacy they have acquired.

For the long journey of the Scrolls is not finished.  They have a role to play in enabling those who care for them today to remember their past and to look ahead to their future, to play a part in ensuring that the terrible events which brought them to London and then onward to new homes, can never be repeated.” — from the Memorial Scroll Trust website.

The Trust’s webpage http://www.memorialscrollstrust.org/scroll-holders  contains a map of our and  all other communities and organizations that have established pages on their websites dedicated to the Scrolls that they are holding. To find scrolls in a particular region, just enter the City or country and then click on Search. It may take a few moments to load as this is a dynamic map. Their target is to link over 1000 scroll-holders around the word.

Brith Sholom’s Holocaust Scroll, MST#64,  is from Boskovice, the birthplace of the Ticho Family.  It was made possible through the generosity of Holocaust survivor Charles Ticho who personally retrieved the scroll from Westminster and transported it back to Bethlehem to present it to the congregation in honor of the Bar Mitzvah of his grandson Nathan Ticho in 2004.

To learn more about the Holocaust Torah Scrolls you can borrow the book, I am a Holocaust Torah from Brith Sholom’s Library.

Boskovice_Holocaust_ScrollThe Jewish Community in Boskovice

The oldest written record of Jews in Boskovice dates from 1343, and the Jewish quarter existed in Boskovice from the mid 15th century.  At the turn of the 18th and 19th century, it contained a renowned Yeshiva and a center of Talmudic studies.

Two thousand Jews lived in Boskovice in the mid 19th century, accounting for over a third of its citizens.

The Jewish Quarter was an extensive area between the chateau and the historical core of the town.  Several gates allowed entrance onto its 13 streets, which originally included 138 houses, of which 79 have remained.

The Greater Synagogue was established by the conversion of an old shrine in 1698 (probably the work of Italian builder Sylvester Fioto around 1639) in baroque style, further reconstruction in Empire, neo-Gothic and modernist styles (the latter designed in 1935-36 by the architect Arnost Wiesner).  The interior decoration of the walls with Hebrew liturgical text was done by Yeshaya Maier son of Yahuda Leib, of Cracow, dates from 1703 – 1705.  The building was used as a warehouse for half a century in 1989 – 2001, it underwent general restoration, including the murals, for cultural and social purposes.  It features valuable original details of ornamentation.

The cemetery was established in the 16th century at the latest.  The area of 14,528 square meters contains nearly 2,500 tombstones.  The oldest known from 1670.