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February 17, 2014 2:57 pm

Hungarian Jewish Community Discovers 100 Holocaust-Era Torah Scrolls Confiscated in WWII

avatar by Joshua Levitt

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Torah scroll. Photo: Wiki Commons.

Budapest’s Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation (EMIH) on Monday said it will announce details regarding the discovery of more than 100 Holocaust-era Torah Scrolls that had been confiscated during World War II.

In a statement, EMIH called a press conference for Tuesday at Budapest’s Obuda Synagogue, where Executive Rabbi Shlomo Koves “will announce a historic discovery of the largest single collection of priceless confiscated sacred property of the Hungarian Jewish community in the Holocaust.”

In addition to the Torah scrolls, the Congregation said, “the Jewish ‘brethren’ of the evangelist library of Sarospatak have been found,” and that “negotiations have been started with a Russian party” – presumably the current holders of the trove.

EMIH said the restitution process was supported by the Hungarian Government and the U.S. State Department.

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  • The Holocaust Torah project in London should be contacted about these newly found scrolls. It started when a teenage boy in charge of children on a Kindertransport arrived in London at the end of WWII and told Rabbi Harold Reinhart z”l about a warehouse in Prague where the Germans had stored hundreds of Torah scrolls looted from Jewish communities in Europe. Reinhart (who happened to be my uncle) succeeded in getting them shipped to London. He built racks to hold them in his synagogue, hired a Sofer from Israel to repair them, and they have been distributed to Jewish congregations worldwide. In all probability the same organization can continue its work with this new supply.

  • H.S.Cohen

    Get them to Israel.It’s over for Jews in that rotten country.

  • Miriyam Gevirtz

    Years ago I saw a documentary on the attempts of a Holocaust survivor who went back with his family and congregation to the place where he had hidden a Torah scroll and to find the woman and family that had hidden him in a pig sty and saved his life. The woman living in his house didn’t want to let him in but eventually the law demanded he be allowed in. His son or son-in-law climbed a ladder to the false ceiling, but the Torah scroll was not there. He and everybody were very sad. They did find the woman who had brought him food and saved his life. She blushed when she recognized him and they embraced. They had been teenagers.

    I am praying that one of those Torah scrolls found in Hungary is the one the man hid so gently and carefully in a false ceiling; and, most of all, I pray he lived to find out that it was safe.

    • Cal Kris

      I saw that documentary, too. It was from years ago. I didn’t recall that the location was in Hungary.

  • Batyah

    Bittersweet news.

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