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Rare 1546 book looted by Nazis returned to family in Israel

By Lidar Gravé-LaziJanuary 24, 2018

A book printed in 1546 that was looted in Poland by the Nazis during World War II was recently found in the University of Potsdam Library and returned to its rightful owners in Israel.

The book, Sefer Mitzvot Gadol, written by Rabbi Moses of Coucy and printed in Venice by Daniel Bomberri, explains the fundamentals of the 613 commandments of the Torah.

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The book was returned to the family as part of a German initiative to return Nazi looted heirlooms to their rightful owners.
Berl Schor and his son David, an attorney, flew to Berlin to accept the book from the University of Potsdam on Monday and reunite it with the family’s extensive collection in Israel.

David Schor, a keen family historian, told The Jerusalem Post that he had identified the book online by coincidence.

“I often search online because many new documents and information are becoming more readily available,” he said. “I typed in the name of my father’s maternal great, great, great grandparents just for the sheer fun and all of a sudden the photograph of the book appeared on my screen.”

Schor said he was “surprised” to see that one of the books in the Potsdam library had the same stamps and signatures as many books in his family’s library.

The Schor-Frankel family collection of Hebrew books dates back to the very beginning of the history of print. These books were acquired “not to decorate the book shelves,” but were intensely studied and passed on from generation to generation, Schor said.

After the death of Berl Schor’s grandparents, Berl Frankel and his wife, Sara, the Frankel Library joined the library of their son-in-law, Majer Schor (Berl Schor’s father), from Krakow.

Majer Schor and his wife, Mila, (Marjem Mirla) were Turkish citizens and as such were immune from Nazi persecution and decrees, even though they were Jewish.

Schor said his grandparents decided to remain in Krakow to help other Jews by engaging in anti-Nazi activities, such as transferring money, supplying false documentation and smuggling people out of Nazi-occupied Poland. The Schor family’s house also served as a “safe house’’ for anyone who needed shelter or a bed for a night.

When the couples’ Turkish passports were set to expire, they applied for their renewal.

However, the Turkish consul general in Berlin, H. Basri Danismend, sent a letter on October 15, 1942 to the Gestapo in Krakow, informing them that he is “honored” to advise that the Turkish citizenship of the Schor Family had been canceled. No such notice was sent to the Schor family.

“By sheer luck,” Schor explained, the letter was seen on the Gestapo chief’s desk by a police officer of the “Blue Police,” a Polish police force subordinate to the Nazis, who knew Majer Schor.

read on, including images, at: jpost.com/Diaspora/Rare-1546-book-looted-by-Nazis-returned-to-family-in-Israel-539629

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