On 3 March 2006, the Sydney Jewish Museum (SJM) accessioned into its collection a burnt and torn Torah scroll. The scroll originated from Brzostek, a small town located in the Subcarpathian region of southeastern Poland. Adam Szus, one of less than ten Brzostek Jews to survive the Second World War, brought the scroll with him to Australia when he migrated in 1959. Szus had survived a Nazi forced labour camp and participated in active resistance against the Nazis as a member of a partisan group. The Torah also survived, having been rescued by a non-Jewish resident of the town during the burning of the Brzostek synagogue by the invading Nazi forces. After the war, the same resident sought out Jewish survivors in an attempt to return the sacred text to its owners. Szus stored the Torah in his home for many years, finally deciding to donate it to the SJM so that it might find ‘a new home … among the Jews’ and ‘serve as a reminder of his people’s past in Poland’.2 The scroll’s origins were verified, and it was duly accessioned and deposited in the SJM archives to await its fate. But what, exactly, was this fate to be?
KeywordsSacred Text Jewish Life Holocaust Survivor Immigration Quota Partisan Group
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