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Memorial Scrolls Trust


Newsletter 38



Welcome to our 38th Newsletter.

I hope that you have been able to attend, in person or by video, the many wonderful Scroll Gathering services organised across the world by Scroll Holder communities during our 60th anniversary year.


I was privileged to attend the Memorial Scroll Trust Gathering at Temple Emanue'el in Manhattan, joining participants from over 60 congregations from the states of New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We were delighted that the Jewish Museum Prague new Director, Pavla Niklova was able to attend and address us. The JMP published the following:

In 1964, the Czechoslovak communist government decided to sell 1,564 scrolls of Torah to get the needed Western currency. They prepared not only the Jewish community, but the whole Czech society of immense cultural and historical wealth. Paradoxically, this act may have saved the scrolls and at the same time contributed to the development of Jewish traditions around the world.

The Memorial Scrolls Trust had most of the scrolls restored and provides them through long-term loans to synagogues, schools, museums and libraries. The Manhattan Scrolls gathering reminded us of lost Jewish communities and emphasized the importance of the Torah as the most important link between generations and different walks of Judaism.

Our congratulations to Pavla Niklova on her new position as director of JMP and we look forward to working with her.

Jeffrey Ohrenstein

Link to our Facebook page below


MST at Temple Emanu-El


MST was proud to arrange our largest 60th anniversary event at Temple Emanu-El, New York, where over 60 scroll holder communities gathered with their Czech Memorial Scrolls for a service of prayer and commemoration. Our Host was MST Trustee Lois Roman. Our deep felt thanks to Lois for arranging and running this event.



You can watch the Temple Emanu-El scroll gathering service here

Opening music Dvorak quartet

Welcome Opening prayer Rabbi Amy Ehrlich, Temple Emanu-El

“Etz Chaim” Cantor David Childs, Cantor Katie Oringel

The Czech Scroll Story Lois Roman, Trustee Memorial Scrolls Trust

“I was there” Philippa Bernard, eyewitness to the arrival of the arrive in London

The Power of the Czech Scrolls in Jewish Life Jeffrey Ohrenstein, Chairman Memorial Scroll Trust

Procession of the scrolls Bloch - Prayer

Rabbinical blessing on scrolls Rabbi Amy Ehrlich

El Male Rachamim Cantor David Childs

Mi Sheberach Rabbi Ehrlich, Jeffrey Ohrenstein

Scroll Recession “L’Dor v Dor” Clergy choir: Cantor David Childs, Cantor Katie Oringel, Cantor Elizabeth Goldmann

Rabbi Norman Patz Rabbi Emeritas, Temple Beth Sholom of West Essex

Pavla Niklova Director, Jewish Museum Prague

New Chapters in the Czech scroll life Filmmaker, Dale Bluestein

Closing remarks “Oseh shalom”

Departing Music



Adat Elohim, Thousand Oaks, CA


12 Scroll holder communities and their Czech memorial Scrolls gathered at Adat Elohim, Thousand Oaks, CA, on Erev Shabbat, Friday 12th April.


Temple Beth Tikvah, Fullerton, CA


Temple Beth Tikvah, Fullerton CA held a scroll gathering on Sunday 14th April, during their own 60th anniversary of foundation.


We take this opportunity to thank Susan Boyer, for many decades our North America Director, and a mainstay of the Czech Jewish Genealogy world. 


Temple Sinai, Sharon, MA


Rabbi Joseph B. Meszler tells us of a deeply meaningful reunion of 6 scrolls at Temple Shalom, Sharon MA, on Sunday April 28th.


Menorah Synagogue, Cheshire


Sixtieth Anniversary Services



Saturday, 18 May 2024 London UK - Liberal Jewish Synagogue

Liberal Jewish Synagogue invites you to join them for a torah service focussed on their Czech Memorial Scroll.




2 November at Ec Chajim, Prague

Ec Chajim, Prague, invites you to join them to celebrate Shabbat with their Czech Memorial Scroll




3 November 2024 Wayne, NJ - Temple Beth Tikvah

Temple Beth Tikvah and the Gross Center at Ramapo College will host a 60th anniversary Czech Memorial Scroll Gathering on 3 November, 2024.




10 November 2024 Sarasota, FL - Jewish Federation

The Jewish Federation of Sarasota Manatee will host a 60th anniversary Czech Memorial Scroll Gathering on 10 November 2024.




Hannukah 2024 Israel - Beit Theresienstadt, Kibbutz Givat Haim Ichud, Israel

The Beit Theresenstadt centre will host a 60th anniversary Czech Memorial Scroll Gathering during Hanukkah 2024.



Our hope is not yet lost



Karel Pažourek, Deputy Consul General of the Czech Republic in Los Angeles

Speech at the opening of the Czech Torah Scrolls Exhibition

Fullerton (California, USA), Temple Beth Tikvah, 14 April 2024


Shalom ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for gathering here to honor the legacy left by our ancestors in Czechia, the Torah Scrolls, the contents of which are the foundation of our civilization.

Our country was one of the safest havens for the Jewish diaspora expelled from their original homeland and persecuted in various corners of the world. Three important World Zionist Congresses took place here. In 1921, the Congress laid the foundations for the future Jewish state. In 1923 it established the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In 1933 it agitated internationally against Nazi anti-Semitism in Germany and adopted the Hatikvah as its anthem.

In 1927, our President Masaryk arrived in the Holy Land to visit the Yishuv - the Jews living in the Land of Israel. It was historically the first visit of the official head of state in Jerusalem to Mandatory Palestine.

A number of important Jewish personalities were born in Czechia: rabbi Yehula Low ben Betzalel, rabbi Ezekiel Landau, US reform rabbi Isaac Meyer Wise, composers Gustav Mahler and Eric Korngold, 1st Chess World Champion Wilhelm Steinitz, psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, writers Franz Kafka and Franz Werfel, politician Madeleine Albright, filmmakers Miloš Forman and Tom Stoppard - to name just a few.

Czechoslovakia helped save the State of Israel in the darkest hour of its War of Independence in 1948 by supplying aircrafts and weapons and training pilots. Some of them were my dear friends. I am also proud of my grandfather, who organized the delivery of machine guns for the young State of Israel from the Zbrojovka Brno arms factory.

Unlike 90% of the Jewish population of our country who perished in Nazi camps and ghettos, 1800 Czech Torah Scrolls survived the Holocaust in Jewish Museum in Prague.

However, the communist regime, which seized power in our country in a coup, turned against Israel for decades after initial support. A situation predicted by Orwell's novel called 1984. Czech Jews were oppressed again after a century of freedom, and most synagogues were closed.

The rare Torah Scrolls were stored in a damp synagogue, from where British philanthropist Yablon bought them 60 years ago and donated them to the Westminster Synagogue in London. That's when the Memorial Scroll Trust was created, which preserves and distributes these scrolls to Jewish communities around the world. Thanks to this, in this Temple we can see 3 Czech Torah Scrolls (and one German, saved on Kristallnacht) are permanently loaned and in permanent use in this temple. Today we can see many more Czech Torah scrolls from all over the USA at this wonderful exhibition.

Communist puppets directed by Russia ruled us for 40 years. Thanks to one great Californian, Ronald Reagan, we managed to overthrow them. My country has been free and democratic again for 34 years now. We have been Israel's closest ally in Europe for last 34 years. When Czech President Zeman, paraphrasing JFK's speech at the Berlin Wall "I am a Berliner", repeatedly said "I am a Jew" or "Ani Yehudi" in recent years, he always meant it, and the overwhelming majority of our political representation and society think the same.

When I look at these rare Torah Scrolls, I am moved. I am thinking of those who did not survive the Holocaust but also of my friends who survived it. I am thinking of Dita Kraus, who as a 14-year-old in Auschwitz operated her library. I think of Greta Hofmeister Klinsberg and Ella Stein Weissberger, who after 70 years repeated their main roles in the opera Brundibár, where the main villain looks a lot like Hitler, and after 55 performances in the Theresienstadt ghetto in 1944, they added another in 2014 in Even Yehuda, Israel.

I am thinking of Hugo Marom – Meisl, who was saved from the Holocaust in Sir Nicholas Winton’s Kindertransport. He was one of the pilots who flew Spitfires supplied by the Czechs to Tel Aviv in 1948 to save the lost war, which they did, and they still managed to bomb Cairo on the way. I am thinking of Avraham Harshalom – Fridberg who escaped from Nazi transport in 1945 and became a hero of the War of the Israeli Independence.

I think of the incredible number of Jewish Nobel Prize winners - after all, there are approximately as many Czechs as Jews, and Czechs won only twice. I think of the victims of Hamas terrorists last October near Gaza, those murdered and those who were kidnapped to Gaza.

At the same time, I think of the lyrics to a beautiful Czech-Israeli tune, I'm sure you know it, it's called Hatikvah"Od lo avdah tikvateinu""Our hope is not yet lost". And for the concluding Passover Seder's wish: "Lashana haba'ah bi'rushalayim". "Next Year in Jerusalem". For me, these two sentences sum up the unbreakable spirit of a nation that has drawn spiritual strength from torah scrolls such as these for millennia.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your attention.



זכרונו לברכה


Yom HaShoah marked in Mevakshei Derech


Rabbi Ezra Ende, is holding the Czech scroll at Kehillat Mevakshei Derech's Yom Hashoah service. This egalitarian community is at 22 Shai Agnon Street, Jerusalem.


Yom HaShoah marked in Houston


Houston's Yom Hashoah program had the Houston area Czech Memorial scrolls prominently displayed. Each scroll noted the town they were from and which congregation they are part of now. They were paraded through Congregation Beth Yeshurun and carried by third generation survivors. I've attached my own remarks, inspired by my dear colleague, R. Norman Patz, and his own words. 
The Yom Hashoah Planning Committee was eager for this opportunity, and I expect the custodians in the area to update their websites and do more research. My own synagogue's website is due for a major refurbishment, after which we will have a dedicated page for our two scrolls.

Cantor Kenneth Feibush
Congregation Beth Israel5600 N Braeswood BlvdHouston, TX 77096


Yom HaShoah in West Hollywood


Rabbi Dr. Norbert Weinberg explains how he was able to take the Czech Memorial scroll #249 and place it on display, and explain some of the unique characteristics as the Sofer had described. The original note card that we had on file, that the damages described therein indeed match the damages on the scroll. The height of the scroll didn't match, but the Sofer's explanation that the parchment had be cut down makes sense, as there were major tears at several places. Repairs made by some previous sofer, done in the time between our receiving of the scroll by Rabbi Kollin in 1988 till  1990. Because of the thinness and fragility of the parchment, instead of trying to read from the scroll ,  it was opened very carefully on the Bimah to the Ten Commandments. Community members walked by one by one to observe.

Also, at 2:02 minutes.

Shalom, Erev Yom HaShoah,
Rabbi Dr. Norbert WeinbergSenior Rabbi
Hollywood Temple Beth El1317 N. Crescent Heights Blvd,West Hollywood, CA 90046


Kojetin, Stankov and Domazlice


This story starts with the trip that Tony and Toba Hausner took to Europe in 2010 to explore their family roots. Their trip included Eastern Galicia (now Western Ukraine), Poland, the Czech Republic and Vienna. They had ancestors who lived in each of these countries. At that time, Tony was in a leadership role in 14 different town research groups. (now 15).

In the first three countries, we hired excellent guides: Alex Dunai in Galicia, Chris Malczewski in Poland and Julius Muller in the Czech Republic. In the Czech Republic, we first visited Kojetin in Moravia and then several towns in the Klatovy District in Bohemia. In these towns, we saw homes, gravestones, former synagogues, documents, etc.

Tony wrote an article about their visit to Kojetin, entitled “The Hausners of Kojetin” and published it in 2011 on He added further information about his family history to the article in 2012. You can find the article at testimonials/pages/Hausner_2012March.html

One of the interesting parts of the Kojetin visit is that Tony learned that his third and fourth great-grandfathers, who were Hausners, were both rabbis. The article describes how he discovered that.

Tony has Hausners on both his father's and mother’s side. The Czech family was on his father’s side. His mother’s side comes from Eastern Galicia.

More recently, Tony started to learn about the history of the Czech Torah Scrolls. As is well-known, the Nazis sent most Czech Jews to concentration camps. Further, between 1942 and 1944, the Nazis collected over 200,000 items of Judaica from some 120 towns and shipped them to the Jewish Museum in Prague.

It is important to recognize that while these towns are referred to as their “provenance,” many of the items had previously been in other towns since there were over 550 Jewish communities in the 1850s. For example, following the discovery of some previously unexamined scrolls at the Jewish Museum in Prague, it was discovered that 11 scrolls from Domazlice came from Stankov. Recently a sofer restoring scroll number MST#26 at B’nai Jeshurun (synagogue in New York) discovered the town name Kolovec written on the etzim (staves, the wooden poles), evidence of an earlier provenance.

Included in this unique treasure were 1,564 Torah and other scrolls that were saved from further dilapidation and loss under the communist regime by being bought by the British philanthropist Ralph Yablon z”l who donated and shipped them to the Westminster Synagogue in London in February 1964. The Memorial Scrolls Trust (MST), an independent charity, was created to be responsible for the scrolls and 1,400 have been allocated to synagogues and organizations around the world, including about 1,000 now in North America.

The MST’s website is https://memorialscrollstrust. org/ It also has a page linked to scroll-holders that have added a page about the scrolls to their own websites, a current total of 530 links https://memorialscrollstrust. org/index.php/scrolls)

The tables below shows where the scrolls are for the synagogues located in Kojetin, Stankov and Domazlice. The latter two are in the Klatovy District where Tony’s Bloch and Eckstein families lived and would have attended services. The Stankov synagogue may have 

closed in 1931 and the families would have then probably attended services in Domazlice. One of the Domazlice scrolls was located at Congregation B’nai David Synagogue in Visalia, CA. where Tony’s sister lives. Tony lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

In May 2023, Tony and Toba took a trip to California and went to Visalia. Tony’s sister Kay Gaston arranged with 

the president of the synagogue for them to meet, and they took many pictures of the scroll, the ark and the synagogue.

Subsequent to their visit to Visalia, Tony reached out to the other synagogues that had scrolls from the three towns. Some of the synagogues sent him photos of their Czech scrolls. For some synagogues, he found photos of the scrolls on their websites. He also identified the scroll located at Temple Solel in Bowie, Maryland, where Tony and Toba are members. That scroll is from the former Podivin Synagogue. That synagogue has been destroyed but in the book, listed below, by Pallay and Muller, there is an image superimposed with an outline of the synagogue. 

Here are some very useful resources on the Czech scrolls and synagogues.

• Jewish Sights of Bohemia and Moravia by Jiri Fiedler (Geffen Books, 1996)


Nazi Theft,

Jewish Cultural Survival


Hana Volavkova writes to us from 1949:

When the Germans decided to destroy Bohemian and Moravian Jewry during the years 1939—1945, they first laid down the main lines of their plan of extermination, leaving all the details to be worked out later. The first thing the Germans did was to draw up exhaustive lists of all Jewish citizens resident in Bohemia and Moravia, and to make inventories of all Jewish property, public as well as private. Thus, having completed their preparations, they proceeded to herd together all the people whose names were on the lists, and, at the same time, collected all the property they had listed in huge storage premises which became filled with furniture, wearing apparel, china, electric lamps, and household utensils and furnishings of all kinds.

Besides these general store-houses, the Germans established a special storehouse for articles from the synagogues. It was from this collection that the doomed Jewish community in Prague was able to instal these treasures in a Museum, where, till the last, experts from the Jewish community carried out the work of arranging, cataloguing, and conserving the objects.


Community Guidelines



Memorial Scrolls Trust

English Registered Charity Number: 1196488

Conditions of Loan - summary

When a Memorial Torah Scroll is entrusted to a congregation on long term loan, it is on the understanding that the congregation makes a long term commitment to give this Sefer Torah a prominent and meaningful role in the spiritual and educational life of the congregation. This requires the rabbi and the leaders of the congregation to pledge to dedicate one Shabbat every year to the Jews of their Memorial Torah Scroll – the people, their community, their fate and their heritage. Each Scroll is a messenger from a martyred community that depends on its new community to ensure that their heritage is cherished as well as their remembrance as individuals.

  1. The Torah Scroll is the property of the Memorial Scrolls Trust.
  2. The Torah Scroll is issued exclusively to a designated congregation or institution (“the Recipient”) on long term loan.
  3. The Recipient will pay to the Trust an initial donation of $5000
  4. New Recipients shall make an annual donation to the Trust of $360.
  5. The Recipients website should have a page or an article about their Czech Torah and its history, as well as the Memorial Scrolls Trust and the Czech Scrolls Museum. The website should also have a link to the MST website
  1. Recipients who are synagogues, shall have an annual commemorative service dedicated to the Jews of the Memorial Scroll town.
  2. The Recipient must provide the Trust with a written report a minimum of once every 5 years. This will give an update of the physical condition of the scroll and share highlights of the role it plays in the community.
  3. The Torah Scroll may not be transferred to any other organisation, and must be returned to the Trust in the event of the closure or merger of the designated organisation.
  4. Where a Torah Scroll has been loaned to a museum, it should be placed on display. If it is kept in storage for a period of more than 2 months, it should be returned to the Trust.
  5. The Recipient is responsible for the safekeeping of the Scroll, and for its condition.
  6. The Recipient must arrange and pay for any repairs or restoration that may be necessary while the Scroll is in their care.
  7. Before any repair or restoration work may be undertaken on the Scroll, advance notice must be given and permission needs to be granted by the Trust. The specified work must be undertaken only by or under the close supervision of a nominated certified scribe approved by the Trust.
  8. Where the Etz Chayim are replaced, the MST brass plaque with the Scroll’s identification number must be preserved and reaffixed
  9. Under no circumstances whatsoever may the Torah Scroll be buried.
  10. The certificate of origin that comes with the Torah Scroll must be framed and displayed in a prominent position near the Scroll. If the certificate cannot be found, then the Recipient must contact the Trust to arrange and pay for a replacement.
  11. The Recipient must maintain adequate insurance against normal risks, and the Trust’s ownership of the Torah Scroll must be endorsed on the insurance policy. Each Torah Scroll to be insured for $25,000.
  12. The Torah Scroll may not be unrolled in its entirety for any reason except that which pertains to its upkeep.

UK £ Sterling Bank Account

Sort Code 60-04-04 Account 86880594

IBAN GB28NWBK60040486880594 BIC: NWBKGB2L

USD $ Bank Account

Sort code 60-04-04 Currency 140 Type 00 Account 87579650 [140/00/87579650]

IBAN. GB22NWBK60730187579650. BIC: NWBKGB2L


Memorial Scrolls Trust


Kent House, Rutland Gardens, London, UK SW7 1BX, UK

Copyright MST 2024




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