Görlitz Torah portions returned in Germany
A Christian pastor in Germany has returned Torah portions believed to have been taken from a synagogue during the Kristallnacht pogroms 83 years ago.
Protestant minister Uwe Mader, 79, handed in the pages to authorities in Görlitz last week, months after the city’s synagogue was reopened after refurbishment, becoming a cultural and educational centre.
Mader’s father Willi was a 23-year-old trainee policeman on duty during the infamous ‘Night of Broken Glass’, when dozens of synaogues and Jewish businesses across Germany were destroyed by Nazi thugs in 1938. The synagogue in Görlitz was the only one in Saxony to escape destruction.
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The torn-out parchments are believed to have changed hands between local Christian clergy throughout the Nazi and Soviet eras, before being passed to Uwe while Berlin was divided between East and West.
Görlitz mayor Octavian Ursu said the four historical fragments were “a valuable historical treasure for our council archive” and that the city would “prepare its exhibition for the public in close consultation with Jewish representatives”.
Governor Michael Kretschmer called the Torah portions “a door into the history of Görlitz of the past decades, which is now opening”, while local Jewish leader Alex Jacobowitz said some of the parchments were “in relatively good shape [and] could be used in a future Sefer Torah”.