Temple Isaiah is the proud owner of a Torah scroll with a fascinating history.
This Torah miraculously survived the Nazi Holocaust of World War II and found its way to England where its blood-stained scroll was painstakingly repaired by a group of dedicated men.
The Holocaust took the lives of most of the Jews who lived in the the village of Nemecky Brod, Czechoslovakia. (The name was changed to Havlickuv Brod in 1945.) 129 Jews from that area were deported to Terezin in one of three transports from Kolin in June, 1942. Eventually most were transported to extermination camps.
The Jewish community of Nenecky Brod had a “prayer room” at 157 Dolni Street, and that room continues to be used today as a place of worship by the Czech Brethren’s Church. The town’s Jewish cemetery is still there, but the last burial was in 1939. The Nazis destroyed the Jewish communities in Czechoslavakia, but a group of members from Prague’s Jewish community devised a way to bring Nemechy Brod’s Torah, along with scrolls from other deserted or destroyed provincial communities, to the comparative safety of Prague. The Scrolls were meticulously recorded with a description of each Scroll and the places from which they came. This devoted group of Jews from Prague’s Jewish community is credited with saving these treasured and historic Torahs. Sadly, all of these Jewish “curators” were eventually transported to Terezin and Auschwitz. After the war the Torahs were for the most part forgotten and were exposed to mold, insects and humidity. However, 1,564 Czech Memorial Scrolls were saved from these harsh conditions, purchased from the Czechoslovak Communist state and taken back into Jewish hands in 1964 by the Westminster Synogogue.
In 1967 Temple Isaiah was entrusted with the care of Czech Torah Memorial Scroll # 1511.