Torah scrolls stolen during the Holocaust by a Polish priest have finally been discovered, but the Polish church appears reluctant to hand them over.
Thirty-five Torah scrolls were recently discovered in a Polish monastery, where they have been hidden since the Holocaust.
It is believed that the scrolls were stolen more than 70 years ago by a local priest, a known anti-Semite who sought to uncover secrets that were apparently hidden by Jews in the sacred books. For decades, the scrolls were kept in the monastery’s rundown basement. Jonny Daniels, founder and chairman of an Israel-based Holocaust commemoration organization called From The Depths, learned of the scrolls’ existence, and after months of negotiating with the heads of the Polish Church, he was granted entry to the monastery in order to see the scrolls.
“Seeing 35 Torah scrolls sitting on dirty shelves in a Polish monastery offended my Jewish soul, because of the blatant disregard shown to the scrolls,” Daniels told Israel Hayom.
“Some of the books are torn and can’t be used, so unless we find someone who will able to repair them, we’ll have to bury them,” he said. “However, the majority of Torah scrolls are in good shape, and can be put back to use.”
Under Jewish law, burial is the only method of disposal for sacred objects deemed unfit for use. While the heads of the Polish Church agreed to give Daniels the scrolls, they appear reluctant to return them to Jewish hands. From The Depths has enlisted the help of Polish attorneys who have volunteered their services to ensure the scrolls’ safe return to Jewish hands.
“I expect the Polish government to intervene and see to the scrolls’ immediate return to the Jewish people,” said Daniels.
By: JNS.org and United with Israel Staff