21st January 2014
REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF SACRED SCROLLS TO TEACH CHILDREN ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST
The remarkable story of 1600 sacred Torah scrolls rescued from the Holocaust is to form the basis of a new educational resource for school pupils, launched today by the Memorial Scrolls Trust and the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.
During the war, the scrolls were brought from every corner of Czechoslovakia to Prague by the Jewish community. Nine out of ten Czech Jews perished in Holocaust leaving the scrolls in storage in a disused Synagogue in the Prague suburbs until they were purchased by a British Philanthropist, Ralph Yablon fifty years ago this February.
Yablon brought them to Britain, arranged for their restoration and helped establish the Memorial Scrolls Trust which distributed the scrolls to every corner of the globe, where they now serve over 1000 communities and have been used in over 100,000 Bar and Bat Mitzvahs (coming of age ceremonies for Jewish children).
Now the story of the scrolls – whose proud holders include the Queen and a US President – has been adapted into an education resource by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, as part of their many educational resources which encourage and support teachers and educators who want to teach about the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and the subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
Commenting on the new resource, Memorial Scrolls Trust Chair, Evelyn Friedlander – herself the wife of a Holocaust survivor – says:
“The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust has done a remarkable job in bringing the story of our scrolls to life. Their journey reflects the incredible journeys of many Holocaust survivors and their rejuvenation at the centre of many new communities is a powerful symbol of the ultimate failure of those who sought to wipe out the Jewish people.”
The Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, Olivia Marks-Woldman adds:
“These scrolls can really bring to life the story of the Holocaust – and its survivors – for young people, and engage them through their journey. Journeys is the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2014. On HMD 2014 we can learn how journeys themselves became part of genocide, and how the journeys undertaken were often experiences of persecution and terror for so many people who suffered in the Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution and in the subsequent genocides. We can also learn about the life stories of journeys that brought survivors to the UK and how, in many instances, journeys of return have been part of the experience of rebuilding. “
To find out more about the scrolls, to arrange a visit to the Memorial Scrolls Trust’s permanent exhibition at Westminster Synagogue and to download a copy of the educational resource please go to http://www.memorialscrollstrust.org or http://www.hmd.org.uk/content/for-educators, where you will also find many other resources for teaching the Holocaust, including lesson plans, assemblies and classroom activities.
For further information about the resource call Ben Rich on 07713 509134 or the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust on 020 7785 7029