At Congregation B'nai Amoona, we are privileged to have Czech Memorial Torah Scroll #1445 on loan from the Memorial Scrolls Trust.
The Nazis collected gold and silver ornaments, ceremonial objects and Torah scrolls from towns all over Europe. A group of Czechoslovakian Jews was forced to arrange and catalogue the items which had been assembled in Prague. After the war, the Communist Government of Czechoslovakia released the Torahs scrolls.
In 1964, the Memorial Scrolls Committee of Westminster Synagogue in London arranged for the shipment of 1564 scrolls to the Synagogue, where they were catalogued and repaired and restored when possible. Each Torah was given a numbered brass plaque to identify its origin. Scrolls that could not be made fit for synagogue use were sent to religious and educational institutions as solemn memorials. Those that were repaired and could be used in religious service were sent to fulfill requests of synagogues all over the world in return for a contribution toward restoration expenses.
In 1973, the scroll was allocated to B’nai Amoona following a request from the Late Rabbi Lipnick. The scroll is approximately 125 years old and originates from the Czech town of Klatovy. It was written in an average Beit Yosef script and was restored to a Kosher condition by the late Dr. Eric Ray.
The Memorial Scrolls Trust, a U.K. non-profit organization, has recently begun to reach out to synagogues and other institutions who received the Czech scrolls to gather updated information about them. They plan to continue to enhance their website so it becomes "a repository of all knowledge concerning the 1564 scrolls, the Jewish history of the towns they came from, the Jews of those towns, their fate, survivors stories, photos etc. Also where the scrolls are now, how they are used and honored etc." More information about the Memorial Scrolls Trust is available on their website.