Temple Bat Yam Holocaust Memorial

Our Holocaust Memorial was dedicated on November 5, 2004, on the night we dedicated the renovated Sanctuary. The main display consists of a central Ark flanked by two side panels made with cracked glass to represent Krystallnacht. As you face the Memorial, the left panel contains the names of many of the death camps, and the right panel contains the words of Hannah Senech's "Eli, Eli," (officially called "Halicha L'Keysaria”, A Hike to Caesarea). The poem was composed in Palestine before she parachuted back into her homeland of Hungary during World War II and was captured and killed by the Nazis.
 
The central panel holds a Holocaust Torah, from Kojetin, Czecholovakia, from which the last Jews were deported in 1942. It is one of five surviving scrolls from this Jewish community. The Kojetin Synagogue was transformed after the war into a Moravian Church (Kojetin is in the Moravian district of the former Czechoslovakia). The Pastor committed himself to preserving the Jewish character of the building. In turn, the Torah once studied in that building found its way to our congregation, and so is housed in a Synagogue that began its life as the Moravian Church of Coral Ridge, designed by a Jewish architect.
 
The Torah scroll is set to Deuteronomy 25:17, which begins with the words "Zachor et asher asah l'cha Amalek...Remember what Amalek did to you when you left Egypt....."
 
Our scroll is officially known as Holocaust Czech Torah #623. Approximately 1,400 scrolls have been distributed to communities throughout the world from the 1,564 Czech scrolls recovered from the Nazis. The UAHC was the conduit through which Temple Bat Yam received the Torah from London, where the Czech scrolls were all taken after they were recovered from Prague. We received the Torah on permanent loan within the first year of TBY’s formation. It was the first Torah acquired by the congregation.
 
Though the damage it endured rendered the Torah scroll halachicly not kosher, we nevertheless determined to use it for worship. This was a scroll the Nazis intended would never again be studied by Jews. We considered it a privilege, even a mitzvah, to see that they did not succeed. We semi-retired the Scroll from regular use only when we built the Memorial, which allowed the Scroll to be permanently open to view.
 
 
The sculpture by Wolf Kahn is called "The Soldier and the Survivor” and is a moving tribute to the Allied soldiers who liberated the concentration camps. Mr. Kahn works primarily in oils and pastels. He is the recipient of a number of honors including a Fulbright Scholarship, a Guggenheim Fellowship and an Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Wolf Kahn was the brother of a former president of TBY, Arthur Kahn, of blessed memory. It sits on a cracked glass pedestal.
 
 
The milk can was donated by Gerry Cooper, of blessed memory, after he had attended a conference at the Holocaust Memorial in Washington on the archives of the Warsaw Ghetto, which were hidden in similar cans.
 
More information about the Czech Torahs may be found at http://www.czechtorah.org/home.php and http://www.czechmemorialscrollstrust.org/.
 
Further information about Kojetin’s Jewish community may be found in an article on Kojetin in the Encyclopedia Judaica in the Temple Library; at this website, created by Avi Steiner, son of a Kojetin survivor: http://a30s.tripod.com/kojetin1.html; and at  http://synagogueartresearch.wordpress.com/countries/czech-republic/kojetin/.

Special thanks to Rabbi Lewis C. Littman for his contributions to this article.

5151 NE 14th Terrace
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33334
One block north of Commercial Blvd. and NE 15th Ave.

Phone: (954) 928-0410
Fax: (954) 928-0762

info@templebatyam.org

One block north of Commerical Blvd. west of 15th Ave.

N26° 11.4106', W080° 7.6266'   (precision: address)