Thursday 5 December 2013

The 50th Anniversary of the Arrival of the Czech Scrolls - An Invitation to Scroll-Holders

Dear Friends

On 9th February 2014 people from around the world will gather in London to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the Czech Torah scrolls from communist Europe.  The tragedy of these extraordinary relics is that they are often the only surviving relics of some 153 Czech Jewish communities whose members were deported and exterminated in the Nazi death camps during WW2.  The Nazis sent the men, women and children who once used these Torah scrolls to their death, destroying their synagogues and communities but the holy scrolls survived. For 20 years following the war, they remained in a disused synagogue in a Prague suburb until the communist government, in need of hard currency, decided they should be sold. They were thus acquired by Westminster Synagogue and, in 1964, 1564 scrolls arrived in London.  Many of the scrolls were in a pitiful condition – torn, damaged by fire and water – a grim testimony to the fate of the people who had once prayed with them.  

The Memorial Scrolls Trust has given these precious scrolls a second life by lovingly restoring them and loaning them to over 1,400 communities around the world, thereby spreading their message to new generations in diverse communities and institutions such as yours.   

The particular history of these scrolls means that they are dynamic messengers, especially as we near the day when witnesses to the events of the Holocaust will no longer be with us. The scrolls are not only a reminder of the atrocities committed against our brothers and sisters in Europe, but also help us with our renewed mission:

To Remember the Czech communities before the Holocaust
To Challenge us to confront prejudice and hatred
To Inspire us into action to commit to a Jewish life and education, and build bridges across communities

We warmly invite you to join us at a Commemorative Service to be held at Westminster Synagogue, Kent House, London SW7 1BX at 6:30pm on 9th of February 2014.

We hope you can join us for what will be a very meaningful and moving occasion, bringing your Torah with you.  It would be appreciated if you could please RSVP to the following email by January 15th.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at

Wish very best wishes,

Evelyn Friedlander

Memorial Scrolls Trust