Culture

The Luckiest Book In History Has Somehow Managed To Survive Three Genocides

What do the Spanish Inquisition, the Holocaust, and the Bosnian Serbs' siege of Sarajevo have in common? It's not just the disgusting attempt to cleanse a nation-state of an entire people; it's also the fact that a 14th-century book of the Jewish Exodus from Egypt, the Sarajevo Haggadah, survived each event, from the 1492 Alhambra decree to the Bosnian genocide.

The Sarajevo Haggadah is an illuminated manuscript version of the Passover Haggadah that transcends its status as a religious artifact. Its centuries of survival came not only at the hands of Jewish believers but also at the hands of non-Jewish people who saw the value of the Sarajevo Haggadah beyond its being a 14th-century Passover Haggadah.

The survival of the Sarajevo Haggadah is an incredible true story that speaks more to the selflessness of some during times that epitomized humanity's deepest depravity than it speaks just to the interesting story of a historical text that lingers today.