An ancient Torah once owned by a Brazilian emperor was removed from Brazil’s National Museum in Rio for restoration before a massive fire engulfed the building on Sunday. The 13th-century Yemenite Torah, which was once owned by emperor Pedro II, was safe at another building that belongs to the museum. Other irreplaceable treasures were lost in the inferno.
“We deeply regret the loss of this colossal treasure in the history of Brazil,” Israel’s honorary consul in Rio, Osias Wurman, said referring to the museum building. “The only compensation was to know that the Torah of Pedro II is safe, since it was located in another building of the museum. This Torah is evidence of the admiration that the Portuguese monarch had for the Jewish people and for their traditions. This was so rare in Europe.”
A 13-yard-long dinosaur skeleton, an Egyptian mummy, and a skull called Luzia that was among the oldest fossils ever found in the Americas, were all destroyed in the fire. The largest meteorite ever discovered in Brazil survived.
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