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Jews celebrate survival of Holocaust Torah

November 9, 2008 | 10:00 am

Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Dr. Joel Kushner, left, and Rabbi Richard N. Levy unroll the Yanov Torah during a ceremony at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion near USC. The Torah survived the Holocaust by being cut into pieces, hidden during the war and reassembled afterward.

Jews celebrate survival of Holocaust Torah

Nearing the somber 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, Los Angeles Jews celebrate the story of a Torah that was pieced together from scattered texts smuggled into a Nazi labor camp.

By Duke Helfand
November 7, 2008
During World War II, Jewish inmates of the Yanov labor camp in occupied Poland defied their Nazi guards, secretly conducting religious services inside their darkened barracks.

To observe their ritual, the Jews had cut religious scrolls into sections, bound the parchment pieces around their bodies and walked them through Yanov's front gate. They hid the fragments wherever they could: beneath the floorboards of their barracks, inside hollow bedposts, even in a camp cemetery.

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Jewish artifacts believed to be from Kristallnacht

An Israeli writer believes the objects in an old dump near Berlin are related to the infamous 1938 pogrom considered by many to be the start of the Holocaust.

By Henry Chu
November 9, 2008
Reporting from Klandorf, Germany

Sometimes serendipity makes history. In this case, it may have uncovered history.

This year, Israeli writer Yaron Svoray came to Germany to research the underground operation that whisked Nazi officials to South America to escape justice after World War II. Svoray was chatting with a local about his project when the man mentioned that a nearby plot of land had served as a dump during the Third Reich.

The man said items looted during the pogrom known as Kristallnacht, or "Night of Broken Glass," were disposed of there. Thousands of Jewish homes, shops and synagogues were ransacked and burned that night 70 years ago today in an orgy of hatred considered by many to be the start of the Holocaust.

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