Hungarian Jewry is asking the government of Russia to release between 300 and 400 Torah scrolls, covers, crowns, pointers, and other objects seized by the Nazis during World War II and then appropriated by the Red Army.
Many of the items were taken from the Hungarian National Bank, where they were being safe kept as their owners were being murdered in concentration camps and ghettos across Europe.
Some 600,000 Hungarian Jews –one out of every ten of Hitler’s Jewish victims – were murdered by the Nazis during the war. Approximately 100,000 Jews live in the country today, including 8,000 Holocaust survivors.
The religious artifacts are just some of the items Russia is being asked to restore to its rightful owners, including art and other valuables.
Some holy scrolls have already been released to Hungary’s State Historical Museum. A catalog of items compiled by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany lists 344 scrolls which have been returned by Russia’s Special Archive.