The New York Times: A group that restores Torahs has promised it will describe the provenances of its rescued Torahs only “if there is documentation…” in an agreement with Maryland officials. Menachem Youlus, a rabbi at the center of Save a Torah’s work, said one Torah had been saved by a Polish priest during World War II after Jewish prisoners entrusted it to him. Questions surfaced after The Times published an article about that Torah.
Menachem Z. Rosensaft, a New York lawyer who is vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants, wrote to the Maryland attorney general, Douglas F. Gansler, alleging “possible fraud and/or misrepresentation” by Save a Torah. He asked for an investigation into whether Save a Torah had been “soliciting funds under false pretenses. ”Mr. Rosensaft, who is also an adjunct professor at Cornell Law School and teaches a course on World War II war crimes trials, took issue with Rabbi Youlus’s description of the Auschwitz Torah. “There is no record of anyone even remotely fitting the description of the priest” Rabbi Youlus said had saved it, Mr. Rosensaft said in the letter.He also took issue with a Torah that Rabbi Youlus said had been at Bergen-Belsen, the concentration camp where Anne Frank died in 1945. Mr. Rosensaft’s parents met at Bergen-Belsen. Mr. Rosensaft said that Rabbi Youlus’s description of finding a Torah beneath a wooden floor in a barracks was not possible. The original buildings at Bergen-Belsen, he said, were burned to stop a typhus epidemic and the survivors were moved to a former German military installation nearby in May 1945. Mr. Rosensaft said that he was born in that installation in 1948 and returned many times to visit.