The Justice Department announced Thursday that law enforcement officials in the United States recovered funeral scrolls, manuscripts, and records taken from Jewish communities during World War II.
In February, authorities learned that a Brooklyn auction house was selling 21 manuscripts and scrolls.
They contained prayers for the dead, memorial pages, and the names of deceased Jewish community members, as well as various records and rules pertaining to members of the community who were deported to concentration camps.
“The scrolls and manuscripts that were illegally confiscated during the Holocaust contain priceless historical information that belongs to the descendants of families that lived and flourished in Jewish communities before the Holocaust,” said Jacquelyn Kasulis, acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.Members of the Jewish communities who returned after WWII found their homes ransacked and their belongings stolen, including scrolls and manuscripts.
Law enforcement was able to locate 17 of the artefacts thanks to the auction house, as well as a consignor and a buyer.
Three more artefacts are thought to be in Israel, with another in upstate New York.
“This office hopes that today’s seizure will contribute to the restoration of pre-Holocaust history in Eastern Europe,” Kauslis said.