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December 02, 1983 - Image 27

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-12-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

1,000-Year Jewish History
in Traveling Jewish Exhibit

Right in Your
Own Driveway!

WASHINGTON (JTA) —
"The Precious Legacy:
Judaic Treasurers From the
Czechoslovak State Collec-
tions" which is on view at
the Smithsonian Institu-
tion's Museum of Natural
History through Jan. 1 is
more than an exhibition,
albeit an extraordinary one.

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Friday, December 2, 1983 21

SAT. 9-4

It is a means of experiencing
1,000 years of Jewish his-
tory, culture, religion and
art in Bohemia and
Moravia.
It is a "precious" experi-
ence because much of the
legacy of centuries of
Jewish life in Central and
Eastern Europe was de-
stroyed by the Nazis. But in
Prague, where a Jewish
museum had existed before
World War II, the Nazis
shipped the possessions of
the Jews who were being
deported to concentration
camps from Bohemia and
Moravia in order to create a
"museum to an extinct
race."
These items became part
of the collection at the
Jewish museum in the old
Jewish Quarter of Prague
which is now on view out-
side of Czechoslovakia for
the first time.
The visitor walks
through arches made to
appear- like the old
Jewish Quarter. He is
first given an overview of
the legacy and the history
of 1,000 years of Czech
Jewish life. There are old
prayer books and much
textile, particularly
Torah curtains and other
synagogue material.

After walking by a beau-
tiful and unique synagogue
clock, the viewer comes to
the section on worship high-
lighted by a birna typical of
the historic Prague
synagogues. Then comes a
section on Jewish learning
and the viewer learns _that
Prague was once a major
center of Jewish book pub-
lishing. A section on charity
illustrates its importance to
Jewish community life.
Other sections show
items dealing with the
Jewish holidays and with
marriage and birth.

The final section deals
briefly with the Holocaust
and particularly with the
Terezin concentration camp
where 140,000 Jews were
sent to await deportation in
the East European death
camps.
Here you can see a crude
Hanuka menora made in
1944 and a skullcap with
the world "Theriesienstadt,
1945" on it. A companion
exhibit at the Bnai Brith
Klutznick Museum has 44
drawings by children in
Terezin.
It is important to re-
member that. the Nazis
tried not only to extermi-
nate the Jews as a people
but to eradicate their his-
tory, their culture, their
religion. Despite the
great losses suffered in
the Holocaust, the Nazis
failed in both attempts.
Mark Talisman, vice
chairman of the U.S.
Holocaust Memorial Coun-
cil and director of the Wash-
ington office of the Council
of Jewish Federations,
spent 15 years trying to
convince the Czech gov-
ernment to allow the items
to be shown in the U.S.
The exhibit will be seen in
Detroit in spring 1985.

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