A Portuguese Sefer Torah dating from the time of the Inquisition was discovered by a builder while demolishing a house in Covilha, next to a 16th-century church where descendants of Jewish converts were known to have worshipped, reports the JC.com.
After discovering the document, the builder wrapped it in a sheet and brought it home, where he kept it for 10 years. Six months ago, he showed it to specialists, and it is currently on display at Covilha’s City Hall. It is in very fine condition and the letters are easily legible.
Virtually all of Portugal’s Jews were forcibly converted by King Manuel I in 1497 and, later, persecuted by the Inquisition, which lasted from 1536 until the 1770s.