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Zachor Torah

Our Zachor Torah

At one time across Czechoslovakia there was a thriving Jewish community, with Christians and Jews getting along as neighbors. A rich Jewish culture had developed in the region and the Jewish population was very large. At the time of the 1930 census 356,830 Jews were recorded in all of Czechoslovakia. Following the Nazi invasion in 1939, historical congregations were closed down and their synagogues destroyed or deserted. Today, the population of the Czech Republic is ten million, including 4,000 Jews.

As the Nazi threat drew closer, communities across Czechoslovakia decided to gather together their treasures including their scrolls and carefully catalog them. They were all labelled. Vlašim was one of the collection points. In 1942, a group of members of Prague’s Jewish community devised a way to bring the religious treasures from the deserted communities and destroyed synagogues to the comparative safety of Prague.

In 1963, 1,564 Scrolls of the Law were purchased and taken to Westminster Synagogue by Jews living in London for further safekeeping and the eventual dispersal to Jewish communities around the world. The scrolls today are each a memorial to the Jewish tragedy and a beacon of hope for future generations. 

B’nai Tikvah is honored to have been chosen to receive one of the 1564 Czech Torah Scrolls rescued from a storage area in Prague. Our Memorial Scroll #1461 is on permanent loan from the Memorial Scrolls Trust in London. Our mid-19th century scroll comes from the town of Vlašim. In 1893 Vlašim’s Jewish population was 210; we know that in 1921 there were still 87 Jews in Vlašim. By 1930 the Jewish population had dropped to 67 (of a total population of 3,625). On December 11, 1942, Vlašim’s 63 remaining Jews were deported to Terezín. We know the names of those people; they are listed below. From Terezín most were sent to Auschwitz. Only four of them survived.

Our community is linked to the martyred community of Vlašim. In the words of Rabbi Jonathan Cohen of Mishkan Torah Synagogue of Greenbelt, Maryland: “We carry on for them. May we be worthy of perpetuating their memory in the way by which we honor their most sacred possession and live its lessons.”

Each year, on Yom Kippur, during the Martyrology service, our scroll is removed from its display case and held while the list of names of the final 63 Jews of Vlašim are read:

 

Bruno Jiri Adler 
Uta Adler
Arnostka Adlerova
Maric Adlerova
Karel Benedikit
Ela Brumlikova
Helena Ehrlikova
Maximillian Gans
Milada Gansova
Julius Gold
Arnotstka Goldova
Blanka Grunbaumova
Anna Hermannova
Josef Hoffmann
Amalic Hoffmannova
Ida Hornova
Jiri Kraus
Irma Krausova
Anna Pacovska
Zdenka Pacovska
Jiri Pacovsky

 

Oskar Pacovsky
Otakar Pacovsky
Isidor Pollak
Julie Pollakova
Ruzena Pollakova
Pavla Reichova
Emil Roubicek
Gustav Roubicek
Jan Roubicek
Jaroslav Roubicek
Jaroslav Roubicek
Jiri Roubicek
Karel Roubicek
Max Roubicek
Ota Roubicek
Pavel Roubicek
Vilem Roubicek
Amaiie Roubickova
Anna Roubickova
Elconora Roubickova
Emilie Roubickova

Hana Roubickova
Hana Roubickova
Hermina Roubickova
Jana Roubickova
Ludmila Roubickova
Maric Roubickova
Ruzena Roubickova
Vera Roubickova
Vera Roubickova
Bedrich Sauer
Vojtech Sauer
Anna Sauerova
Marold Schiller
Max Schiller
Elfrieda Schillerova
Gertruda Schillerova
Josef Seidler
Berta Seidlerova
Bozena Seidlerova
Jiri Vogel
Anna Weinerova

 

The Memorial Scrolls Trust, a U.K. non-profit organization, has recently begun to reach out to synagogues and other institutions who received the Czech Scrolls to gather and record up to date information about them. They plan to continue to build their website, creating "a repository of all knowledge concerning the 1564 scrolls.”
More information about the Memorial Scrolls Trust is available on their website
.

Tue, October 4 2022 9 Tishrei 5783