Published On: Thu, Mar 24th, 2016

Scrolls found in secret Warsaw ghetto synagogue

The three Books of Esther scrolls survived the liquidation of the ghetto following the 1943 uprising and remained hidden until recently, when the collapse of a wall in an old building revealed the synagogue.

Book of Esther from the Warsaw Ghetto (Photo Shem Olam)

Three Books of Esther scrolls that survived the Holocaust and were read on Purim were recently discovered in a hidden synagogue at the Warsaw ghetto, which was found after a wall in an old building in the ghetto collapsed.

The scrolls were found by researchers at the Shem Olam Institute, also known as the Faith & Holocaust Institute for Education Documentation and Research in Kfar Haroeh.

This week they were transferred to a special storage archive at the institute. Two of the scrolls were found in a relatively good condition considering the events of the period, while an additional scroll was found burnt and almost completely crumbled.

The entire ghetto was liquidated in April 1943 after the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and burned down by the Nazis. Those who survived the uprising were transferred to the Treblinka death camp, where the vast majority were brutally murdered.

Rabbi Avraham Krieger, head of Shem Olam, said: “The more we investigate the life of the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto, we discover the courage and mental strength the Jews exhibited to keep the faith alive despite the grief and the threat of death that surrounded them from all directions. These scrolls, which relate the Jews’ miraculous rescue from those who sought their destruction, survived the Nazi hell.”


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