Please help identify the family who donated a torah mantle now in a German museum collection #germany #general

Karen Franklin

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.
Can you associate the names (Chaim David and Zvia Moskowitz or Leo(pold)
Moskowitz) with a Jewish community?

לזכר נשמת
„In memory of
  חיים דוד מאסקאוּויץ
Chaim David and
  מאסקאוּויץ צביה
Zvia Moskowitz“
„Donated by son Leo“


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.
wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter
Jüdisches Museum Westfalen


Julius-Ambrunn-Straße 1|46282 Dorsten
Postanschrift: Postfach 100 622
Tel.: 02362-45279


Sherri Bobish


There is a Zvia Moskowitz, b. 1859 Romania, d. 1926 New York City.

I have not been able to find any further info on her. Her death cert lists no husband's name.  It does list one son named Joe (probably the informant.)

If you can get a photo of her tombstone from Baron Hirsch Cemetery than it may contain the name of her husband.
Baron Hirsch Cemetery charge $16. for a photo.
If you post a request for a photo on JewishGen than someone may volunteer to take a photo for you.

Good luck in your search,

Sherri Bobish

(info below from
Name: Zvia Moskowitz
Gender: F (Female)
Birth Date: 1859
Birth Place: Romania
Death Date: 26 Nov 1926
Death Place: Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, United States of America
Cemetery: Baron Hirsch Cemetery
Burial or Cremation Place: Staten Island, Richmond County (Staten Island), New York, United States of America
Has Bio?: Y
Following info from
Name: Ziwee Moshkowitz
Sex: Female
Age: 67
Burial Date: 28 Nov 1926
Burial Place: New York, New York
Death Date: 26 Nov 1926
Death Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States
Death Place (Original): Manhattan, New York, New York, United States
Birth Date: 1859
Birthplace: Romania
Marital Status: Widowed
Occupation: housewife
Race: White
Father's Name: Israel Moshkowitz
Father's Sex: Male
Father's Birthplace: Romania
Mother's Name: Clara Rachael
Mother's Sex: Female
Mother's Birthplace: Romania
Certificate Number: cn 29181
Cemetery: Baron Nirch
Note: son Joe/Moshkowitz

Michele Lock

I notice the liberal use of sequins in the torah cover, in the crown, under the lions, and making up the garland vase. 

This is similar to a sequined torah cover from the early 1900s, found at a synagogue in the Lower East Side of New York City:

It is also similar to a torah cover that is in the collection of the Jewish Museum of Maryland, though there is no date mentioned in the website listing:

I would think there are textile historians here in the US who can tell you when those types of sequins became available, to at least give you an early date for the cover. 
Michele Lock

Lak/Lok/Liak/Lock and Kalon/Kolon in Zagare/Joniskis/Gruzdziai, Lithuania
Lak/Lok/Liak/Lock in Plunge/Telsiai in Lithuania
Trisinsky/Trushinsky/Sturisky and Leybman in Dotnuva, Lithuania
Olitsky in Alytus, Suwalki, Poland/Lithuania
Gutman/Goodman in Czestochowa, Poland
Lavine/Lev/Lew in Trenton, New Jersey and Lida/Vilna gub., Belarus