Gift of Joseph A. Bamberger and family
Id no. 129.94, Judaica, Hebrew
On Kristallnacht, mobs looted and destroyed Jewish homes and businesses, attacked 1,400 synagogues, and arrested approximately 30,000 Jews. The Bornplatz Synagogue was among the institutions attacked.
Dr. Seligmann Baer Bamberger, a chemistry and physics teacher and a leader of the Bornplatz congregation, ran to the synagogue to rescue this Torah scroll from the destruction. Meanwhile, having left his home, he was spared from arrest by the Gestapo who came to his door. He spent the week after Kristallnacht in hiding, avoiding arrest. Bamberger and his family believe that he saved the scroll, and the scroll saved him.
Following the attack, the Bamberger family decided to leave Germany although the family had lived there since at least the 1700s. Seligmann, his wife Bella Else, and their children, Hannah and Joseph, managed to obtain visas to the United States with the help of their friends Edgar and Ruth Frank (soon to be in-laws, through the marriage of Joseph to their daughter, Dorothy). Edgar and Ruth had immigrated to the United States shortly before Kristallnacht. The Bambergers joined them in 1940. The Bambergers brought this scroll with them, and used it for services in their apartments in Manhattan, and later in a conservative synagogue in Patchogue, Long Island. The Torah mantle with white and gold decoration was made in the United States to memorialize relatives who were killed in the Holocaust.
Discover more about this artifact and other stories from the Museum’s collection in, “To Life: 36 Stories of Memory and Hope” http://www.pickmanmuseumshop.com/tolif36storo.html