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Torah mantle

Commemoration of the beginning of the First World War
Acquired by the museum in 1942–1944 from the 'Moravská Ostrava' collection point.
Jewish Museum in Prague – Sub-collection of Judaic Textiles.

The heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary was assassinated in Sarajevo at the end of June 1914. Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia a month later. Thus started the First World War which was to last more than four years, ending in November 1918 with an armistice on all fronts. This year marks the centenary of the beginning of the war, in which the inhabitants of the Bohemian lands – regardless of their religion – fought primarily in the ranks of the Austro-Hungarian army, many being injured or dying in the brutal conflict. The collections of the Jewish Museum in Prague contain several textiles that were donated to synagogues in Bohemia and Moravia in memory of the victims of the first major conflict of the 20th century. As part of the museum's project aimed at identifying donors of collection pieces, which was financially supported by the Rothschild Foundation Europe in 2012-2013, the museum staff and their colleagues managed to identify the donors of a Torah mantle from the Moravian town of Moravská Ostrava (the dedicatory inscription on the textile refers to the donors by their religious names rather than their official, non-Hebrew names). This textile was donated by Zikmund Roth and his wife Rudolfína in memory of their son Friedrich Roth (born 24 July 1894), who died on 1 February 1916 in a military hospital as a result of injuries sustained in the war. The young soldier's parents also fell victim to the ravages of the twentieth century – almost 25 years later they were both deported from Ostrava to the Terezín ghetto, from where they were sent on Transport Bx to the Treblinka extermination camp, where they perished in October 1942.

Torah mantle
Inv. No. JMP 031.141
Silk and metal thread embroidery
840 x 470mm
(Hebrew) “KT. This was donated by the learned Zimel Roth and his wife Rachel in memory of their son Ephraim who died in the war in the year 676 according to the minor era (= 1916).”

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