Did you know that there are thousands of stolen Judaica from Jews in the holocaust being sold in flee markets around Germany and Europe? Aaron Herman spoke with Bill Frankel Director of the new organization Bring It Home which aims to reclaim the stolen Judaica.
Bring it Home began as a simple trip to explore the famous Budapest flea market, Ecseri. In 2007 while visiting the market, , Bill noticed a substantial number of pieces of Judaica on the vendors’ tables.: There were Kiddush cups, Hanukkah menorahs, Shabbat candleholders, Torah yad/pointers, Tzedaka boxes, and much more. There were hundreds of pieces! Every time he would inquire about a piece one the dealer would bring out more and more to show from under his table.
As he walked around, Bill grew overwhelmed by the large number of pieces and the question of how they had come to be in the dealers’ hands.Where did they come from? There could be no answer other than that they had been takenduring the war as Jews were forced from their homes during the Holocaust. Eventually, these pieces of Judaica had ended up on these dealers’ tables. At that moment, Bill felt that they did not belong in the hands of the dealers, but in the hands of the Jewish Community. He felt like he needed to Bring It Home, to bring the lost Judaica back into the Jewish community to be used as it was originally intended.
Bill decided to create Bring It Home to fund local community members to go into the markets and buy the Judaica, inventory the pieces, and then send them out to the community with the explicit stipulation that the pieces will actually be used – not to be archived or to be displayed in a museum – but to be used as they were intended.
The project is also about keeping the stories of the Jewish communities lost during the Holocaust alive through the artifacts. Each piece will be accompanied by an educational component to connect the recipient (Synagogues, summer camps, Campus Hillels, new immigrants, families still living in the local community) to it’s history, and with information on different traditions, prayers and uses for the Judaica.