MFAH Houston Torah Crown, mid-19th century, parcel gilt-silver, Collection of the Comunita Ebraica de Venezia (The Jewish Community of Venice)
As Germany's Nazi soldiers invaded countries throughout Europe during their height of their powers, they would - like armies throughout the centuries - also plunder. So it was not uncommon for families or institutions to frantically try to hide items of financial or sentimental value, in the hopes that they could be reclaimed one day.
Now, thanks to the foresight and clever deception of two elderly Jewish worshippers as the Nazis invaded Italy in 1943, a trove of ornate silver and bronze objects from the 17th through 20th centuries will be on view in the exhibit Lost Treasure of the Jewish Ghetto of Venice/ Restored by Venetian Heritage Inc. Hidden away for more than 60 years, the items were discovered by accident.
Among the primarily liturgical works are silver Torah crowns, lamps, plates used during ceremonial functions, Torah cases, finials, and other pieces of incredible craftsmanship and beauty, restored by a company called Venetian Heritage.