Balla family Torah from Budapest

Museum Work

Resource TypeObjects
GenreReligious Materials
Object ID2002.015.001
Materials/Techniquesparchment, ink, wood
Measurements56 x 23 x 13 cm
ProvenanceGifted to the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre in 2002 by the estate of Rabbi Imre Balla.
Legal Statuspermanent collection
Credit LineCourtesy of Rabbi Imre Balla
NoteIn the spring of 1944, nearly 440,000 Jews were deported from Hungary, most of them to Auschwitz. By November, only 70,000 Jews of Budapest remained, confined to a cramped ghetto. During the Siege of Budapest, Adelle Balla escaped roundups and bombings, moving between hiding spaces with her infant son and the Torah. Coming from a family of rabbis, the Torah signified a link to her family’s history and religious traditions. Preserving that past was of paramount importance to her. Adelle’s undertaking was particularly perilous considering she was a nursing mother of a six-month-old, whose cries were likely to draw attention. Her son died shortly after the liberation of the city, but Adelle and the Torah survived. Adelle immigrated to Canada after the war and entrusted the family heirloom to her second son, Rabbi Imre Balla. When he passed away, the Rabbi’s family donated the Torah – a monument to a lost world and relatives – to the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre. -- adapted from captions used for the In Defiance: Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust exhibition and Carl Lutz and the Legendary Glass House in Budpest companion exhibition