1888 tefillin case looted by Nazis returned to French Jewish family

Case had been given to Algerian Jewish man as a bar mitzvah gift and was later stolen from his Paris apartment in 1942 by the Nazis.

Dan Verbin, Canada ,


Nearly 90 years after being looted by the Nazis, a family heirloom tefillin case from 1888 was returned to its rightful owners.

A Jewish family in France received the traditional tefillin case, which had been given to Elie Léon Lévi-Valesin upon his bar mitzvah in Algiers, Algeria. It was looted from his apartment in Paris by the Nazis in 1942.

During a ceremony hosted by the French Ministry of Culture on Thursday, Lévi-Valesin’s great-granddaughter Miléna Kartowski-Aiach received the priceless item. She had first encountered it on display at a museum exhibit on the history of Algerian Jews, reported Le Figaro newspaper.

“This little bag carries a great memory,” said Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot at the event.

On twitter, she said that “despite the time that has passed, the families who have been deprived of (family possessions have been treated) in a vile and criminal way.”

France’s Chief Rabbi Haim Kora tweeted his thanks to Bachelot for her work on behalf of the descendants of Jews who had personal items stolen by the Nazis.

“Thank you Madam Minister for working so well to repair these terrible (acts). Even so long after, these historic moments are a source of peace for families so hard hit,” he said.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)