70-Year-Old 'Perfect' Mezuzah Found in Poland

As part of project to memoralize Jews who disappeared in Holocaust, remarkable discovery made on doorpost in Przemysl.

Chaim Lev, Ari Yashar,

Mezuzah (illustration)
Mezuzah (illustration)
Noam Moskowitz/Flash 90

A unique discovery was made last week in the Polish town of Przemysl, as a 70-year-old mezuzah scroll was discovered in excellent condition as part of a national initiative to identify homes whose former Jewish owners disappeared in the Holocaust.

As part of the project, doorways featuring mezuzah niches bearing witness to the Jewish families who lived there prior to the Holocaust are marked with a certain color to commemorate the former Jewish residents - all with the permission of the current residents.

Resident Hanna Merlak provided information about the remarkable mezuzah discovery in Przemysl last week according to Virtual Shtetl, after she saw a flat piece of metal mounted diagonally on the home's doorway at Wladycze Street.

Merlak suspected that under the metal other remnants of the mezuzah were concealed, and with permission nails were removed in taking down the metal and revealing the mezuzah niche underneath, which still contained parts of the mezuzah and an intact scroll.

The 70-year-old mezuzah was brought to the Jewish community in Warsaw, and after being inspected it was found to be in a condition allowing usage according to Jewish law. Currently the Jewish residents who owned the home are being searched for.

Helena Czernek and Aleksander Prugar of the Mi Polin studio specializing in Jewish art were involved in the recovery of the mezuzah.

"The parchment seems to be perfectly preserved," said Czernek. "It has been taken care of by experts on the preservation of monuments of history from the National Museum in Warsaw. We will decide together what to do with that precious piece of Jewish ceremonial art."

Mi Polin studio has been preparing an exhibit of mezuzahs, featuring casts of mezuzahs left from before the Holocaust along with information about the Jewish residents who are thought to have lived in the homes.