Pages of History // Rescuing Sefarim from Romania By Shterna Karp

By Gila Lowell

“I’ll wait in the car,” Rabbi Tvardovitz told his wife, Ruchi. The two had just pulled up outside an old building in the center of Knokke, Belgium. The Chabad couple was visiting Anne, an elderly woman whom the Tvardovitzes had recently met. They wanted to drop off some shmurah matzos before Pesach, which was only a week away. 

There was no parking on the cobbled streets, so Ruchi took the paper-wrapped package from the backseat of the car and went to ring the doorbell. 

Anne opened the door with a warm smile and a bright welcome. “Kum arein,” she told Ruchi in a strong European Yiddish. Although she herself wasn’t frum, Anne had grown up in a frum family.

Ruchi looked around the house. The walls were decorated with expensive paintings, and there were Persian rugs on the floor. The room was beautiful, but there was nothing that would identify its owners as Jews. No mezuzos on the doors, sefarim on the shelves or other visible traces of Anne’s heritage. 

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