Kolin's Torah Comes Home Sunday

Restored Holocaust Torah Has New Home in Plainview

Sunday morning, good people from Plainview will carry a sacred scroll from home to their synagogue.

It has made a remarkable journey from Kolin, Czechoslovakia and has been meticulously restored through the year-long effort of theThe Torah, hand-written in Hebrew and containing the first five books of the Jewish Bible, will be adorned with the names of 480 Jews of Kolin who died in Nazi death camps.

The Nazi regime stole this sacred scroll while attempting to eliminate a race of people.

They failed.

That race of people carry on in G-d's name Sunday. Today's procession of Kolin's Torah is proof. The names of Kolin's Jews will be enshrined in Plainview from this day forward.

Perhaps there is no better way to honor Yom HaShoah  than to attend today's event at the synagogue on Manetto Hill Road. Sunday's events, timed to Holocaust Remembrance Day, will bring out dignitaries and public officials with well known names.

But it will also trumpet the names of people who otherwise might have been forgotten. 

You will hear the name of the innkeepers, Karel and Berta Brunner. They died at Auschwitz .

And Eva Freundova. She was described as a "school girl." It's not clear where she died, but she didn't die in vain.

Rabbi Richard Feder survived somehow. But the names of his grandchildren, Josef, Petr and Valtr, his daughter, Greta, his wife, Hilda, will be read. 

All the names of Kolin's dead will be read Sunday in Plainview. Every one of them.

The Torah, known as "No. 559," was witness to baby namings, B’nai Mitzvah, weddings and funerals.  It was among the prize possessions of the Kolin Jewish community. In 1942, the entire Jewish community of Kolin was deported to Terezenstadt and the synagogue in Kolin was looted by the Nazis. It's contents were warehoused in Prague.

The Manetto Hill Jewish Center received Scroll No. 559 about 36 years ago, where it remained in a museum case, a silent memorial to the decimated Jewish community of Kolin.

No longer silent, the rededication of  Kolin's Torah is the culmination of the synagogue's efforts to ensure the names of Kolin's dead are not forgotten. This will be their living memorial. 

On their website, organizers say today's event is a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perpetuate the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust.

"Each time the Torah is used, not only is it a living part of our community, it is a testament to the continuity of Jewish life and the failure of Hitler’s final solution," organizers said on their website.

Today's all-day event is open to the public. Parking is limited and the synagogue's lot will be closed. Organizers ask that the public arrive early. The procession to the synagogue begins about 10 a.m.


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