Recovered Torah scrolls bought by Polish village library


SOKOLOW PODLASKI, Poland (JTA) — Two Torah scrolls, one complete and one incomplete, found in Poland’s Sokolow Podlaski district have a new owner.

The Torah scrolls found Aug. 20 turned over to the Wegrow Public Library. They are believed to have belonged to a synagogue in nearby Wegrow.

A Sokolow policeman was contacted by a woman who wanted to sell the scrolls.

"The policeman thought, however, that such a precious treasure should go to a museum," Slawomir Tomaszewski, the Sokolow Police press officer, told JTA.

The policeman brought the scrolls to Marcin Pasik, Sokolow Commune head. They likely were lost to the Wegrow Jewish community during World War II. The synagogue in Wegrow was destroyed during the war and there now are no Jews living in Wegrow. Pasik gave the scrolls to Krzysztof Fedorczyk, the mayor of Wegrow district.

On Aug. 24, the director of the town’s library, Malgorzata Piorkowska, came to Fedorczyk’s office to tell him that she bought the scrolls from the owner. 
Piorkowska said the scrolls would be located in a soon-to-be-launched museum dedicated to the history of the Jews of Wegrow. The library director told reporters that she sees no reason to return the Torah scrolls to the Jewish community because she believes it has enough scrolls.

The seller of the scrolls would not comment on the matter, saying only that she asked the local prosecutor to examine the case of the policeman who took the scrolls.

"We are probing the case to confirm or not if the complaint is right or wrong. Our investigation will take up to 30 days," Leszek Soczewka, deputy district attorney of Sokolow Podlaski told JTA.

The woman first claimed that her father had saved the scrolls from a burning synagogue in Wegrow. Later she said that the Torah scrolls were brought to her father by a Jewish friend who asked him to hide them during the war.

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