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KKBE's Holocaust Torah

KKBE Remembers
A Jewish Community Destroyed: Louny, The Czech Republic
A Hero Forgotten: Lt. Edward I. Hirsch
The KKBE Holocaust Torah (MST No. 1210)
 

Introduction

The Torah, which is the first part of the Jewish bible, consists of five books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. As such, the Torah is also known as the Five Books of Moses and the Pentateuch. The Jewish bible includes twenty-four books divided into three general categories, Torah, Prophets, and Writings, and is known by its Hebrew acronym “TaNaKh”. See below for a short video excerpt about KKBE’s Torahs and how Torah scrolls are made. (Link Here)

 

 

Like many Jewish congregations and organizations, KKBE received its Holocaust Torah on loan from the Memorial Scrolls Trust (MST, London, UK). Our Holocaust Torah is one of 1,564 Torah scrolls collected by the Nazis from Bohemia and Moravia, purchased from the Czech Communist Government, and rescued as “silent witnesses” to all Jewish communities lost during the Holocaust. MST was established as a charity to distribute rescued Torahs to communities and organizations worldwide. For more information about MST and the work that they do, please visit https://memorialscrollstrust.org.

Provenance

KKBE’s Holocaust Torah was written sometime in the late 18th or early 19th centuries in what is now the Czech Republic. Specifically, the Torah comes from the town of Louny in Northwest Bohemia. Jews were known to have lived in Louny from at least 1254 CE. Except for 1541 CE, when all Jews were expelled from the town, small numbers of Jews lived in Louny despite 18th and early 19th century legal restrictions on the number of Jewish families allowed to live in Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia. In 1942 the Jewish community was deported to the Nazi death camps.

After World War II, a Jewish community was briefly reestablished in Louny. There is a Jewish cemetery remaining in the town. As of 2013, the synagogue had been rebuilt but was serving as a municipal archive. Thus, KKBE’s Holocaust Torah and a few others like it, the cemetery, and the synagogue building, are all that is left of an almost 700-year-old Jewish community.

 

KKBE Remembers the Jewish Community of Louny

MST No. 1210 featuring Atzei Chayim dedicated to Lt. Edward Hirsch.

 

A Memorial to Lt. Edward I. Hirsch

Although not well known by the KKBE community, our Holocaust Torah was acquired as a memorial to Lt. Edward I. Hirsch. Edward Hirsch was a native of Charleston, a graduate of Porter Military Academy and a student at the College of Charleston when he enlisted in the army. After officers’ school at Fort Benning, Edward Hirsch was commissioned a Second Lieutenant.

Lt. Hirsch served during World War II in the Italian Campaign. He was killed early in 1944 and was awarded the Bronze Star for valor on the battlefield and the Purple Heart. (ABMC Website)

Although Lt. Hirsch’s body was never recovered, he is commemorated at the Sicily – Rome American Cemetery, Nettuno, Italy.

Lt. Hirsch was an only child, whose parents passed away during the 1950s, with no known relatives in the Charleston area.  KKBE is fortunate to have excerpts of letters of commendation sent to Lt. Hirsch’s parents from his commanding officer, Capt. Charles E. Morgan, and Lt. Gen. Mark W. Clark.

 

KKBE Remembers Edward I. Hirsch

 

Wed, February 21 2024 12 Adar I 5784