Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Scroll of Names Given to Yad Vashem

Alexander Avram examines the scroll of names 

The other day, a special Megila was brought to Yad Vashem – a scroll with 1,349 names of Jews from the town of Pinczow (Kielce region) in Poland who were murdered in the Shoah.  The names, written in a beautiful script in Hebrew  in alphabetical order, will be meshed into Yad Vashem’s Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names. Approximately 3,500 Jews lived in the town when the Nazis arrived in the town; many of them were murdered in Treblinka. Yzhak Tekel’s father, Eliezer was from Pinczow and for many years kept the scroll in his home. Eliezer has since passed away, and when Yzhak heard Yad Vashem’s radio campaign calling on the public to submit names of Holocaust victims he decided to bring the Megila to Yad Vashem for safekeeping. "Both my parents were Shoah survivors; they were always actively involved in Holocaust remembrance," said Tekel. "The subject was common in our household as I was growing up and I too  understand the importance of remembering the names. Therefore when I heard the appeal on the radio, I knew in my heart that the proper place for this megila is Yad Vashem."  Tekel's wife Orna was at Yad Vashem last week with her students in advance of a trip to Poland, and she delivered it at that time. The megila was written in the 1960s by a sofer commissioned by survivors from the town.  At their yearly gathering the megila as always on display.   

“We are always and still trying to recover as many names as possible from the different communities,” said Alexander Avram, Director of Yad Vashem’s Hall of Names, “But this is one of a few cases where commemoration was done in a very symbolic way, harking back to the tradition of writing megilot, on a pergament (klaf) and by a special scribe.”

Yad Vashem has some 30 such megilot in its collections.  

Yad Vashem has identified 4.2 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust. Their names and biographies are documented in the Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names  (www.yadvashem.org) in English, Hebrew, Russian, Spanish, and German.  Assistance in filling out Pages of Testimony in Israel is available at: +972 2 644 3808.  For assistance in other parts of the world contact: names.outreach@yadvashem.org.il