Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

French Town Unveils Judaica Treasure Hidden During Holocaust

A town near Strasbourg has unveiled dozens of precious Judaica items that were recently discovered during renovation of a former synagogue.

The items were presented to the public Sunday and were hidden before the Holocaust at what is now the new cultural center of Dambach-la-Ville, a town of 2,000 residents near Strasbourg in eastern France, the L’Alsace daily reported Saturday.

Members of the town’s former Jewish community hid the cache of thousands of items — including old Torah scrolls and texts from the 16th century — in the space of a double ceiling, designed especially for concealment, according to the report.

Among the findings are 250 mapot, or wimpels – strips of cloth that were wrapped around Jewish babies during their circumcision and then decorated with their names and deposited for safekeeping. The oldest mappah found at Dambach was dated to 1614. The oldest item found at the former synagogue was a ruined Torah scroll dating back to 1592.

Jean-Camille Bloch, the vice president of the SHIAL historical society on Jewish presence in the Alsace-Lorraine region, is quoted as telling L’Alsace that some of the items recovered are worth hundreds of dollars.

The French government evacuated tens of thousands of Frenchmen from the Alsace-Lorraine region, including 14,000 Jews, when World War II broke out in 1939, according to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. Because of the evacuation, only about ten percent of Alsace-Lorraine’s Jewish population of 20,000 perished in the Holocaust.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at editor[email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.