We could use your assistance in solving a provenance mystery.
I am posting on behalf of the Jewish Museum Westphalia in Dorsten, Germany. They have begun a provenance project “to research our Judaica holdings, to trace the history of our collection and to create transparency in dealing with Jewish cultural property and former Jewish owners in accordance with the "Washington Principles" of 1998 to identify the original Jewish owners of the items.”
In a recent inquiry, the researcher on the project, Sebastian Braun, requested assistance in identifying the family who donated a Torah mantle:
“I am writing you today to enquire about a “Thoracurtain” from our inventory, that our museum originally acquired in 1987 from the antique trade “Pieces of Time” in London. We assume it could be a donation to a Jewish community in Great Britain or the USA.
Maybe you can help us further.
Initial research of the style of the object suggests that it is early-mid 20th century, and that the English “Donated by son Leo” may have been added later. It could be European or American. There are some stylistic hints to suggest it might have come from the Balkans.
The Moskowitz family may not necessarily be heir to this Torah mantle, which at some point had been donated to a synagogue, but it would surely be of great value to restore a small piece of Jewish history and family history.
We welcome all assistance.
Karen S. Franklin
New York, NY
Sebastian Braun M.A.