Friday 26 August 2011

Save-A-Torah Rabbi Menachem Youlus Arrested in Manhattan on Fraud Charges.

On Wednesday, Rabbi Menachem Youlus of the Save-a-Torah foundation which I have discussed on this blog and elsewhere, was arrested in Manhattan on fraud charges.
Court papers said he had never gone to the far-flung places he talked about and had made up the stories he told about discovering Torahs at the sites of the Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps — or in Iraq in 2007. Instead, prosecutors accused him of selling fake Torahs and pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars through Save a Torah, the nonprofit organization he co-founded in 2004.

... there was] nothing to support Rabbi Youlus’s claim that he had rescued a Torah that had been at Auschwitz. In April 2008, just before the rededication of a Torah in a ceremony at Central Synagogue in Manhattan on Holocaust Remembrance Day, Rabbi Youlus said he had dug it out of the ground after finding it with a metal detector. [...] there was no evidence that Rabbi Youlus had discovered a Torah in 2002 that he claimed had been hidden beneath a barracks at the Bergen-Belsen camp. Mr. Ghiozzi said that a historian at the Bergen-Belsen Memorial Museum had told him Rabbi Youlus’s account did not add up because the barracks were destroyed by the British Army weeks after the camp was liberated in 1945.

Likewise Youlus was not in Iraq with US forces in 2007, a case I discussed elsewhere.

James Barron, 'Rabbi Fabricated Swashbuckling Tales of Saving Holocaust Torahs, Prosecutors Say', New York Times 24.08.2011

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