At Ganzach Kiddush Hashem We Commemorate…

A Life of Self-Sacrifice and Kiddush Hashem

By: Yaakov Rosenfeld, Ganzach Kiddush Hashem In these days, days of sorrow and anxiety, worry and distress, it has been eighty years since the the Rebbe, Rabbi Kalonymous Kalmish Shapira was murdered in sanctification of G-d's name (kiddush Hashem) in the Trawniki camp, 40 kilometres from Lublin. The Piaseczno Rebbe, Rabbi Kalonymous Kalmish Shapira (second from left) with his father-in-law at his side, the Bolchow Rebbe, Rabbi Shlomo Chaim Perlow at a place for healing Eighty years since, the cry of the Holy Rebbe of Piaseczno has been silenced, the terrible cry that echoed in t... Read more

The Joyous World of Rabbi Meir Shapira of Lublin

By: Rabbi David Avraham Mandelbaum, son of the Rebbe, Rabbi Moshe Meir Mandelbaum z"l, who was a student of the Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva A treatise on Rabbi Meir Shapira of Lublin, with seventy aspects, different topics and sections that encompass all parts of his relationship to Judaism and worship of G-d, which touch each and every one of us, because indeed Rabbi Shapira was a man of many talents. Rabbi Meir Shapira of Lublin z"l, the head of the Chachmei Lublin yeshiva, holding a tiny Torah Over the years, I have accumulated many wonderful stories related to the power of music ... Read more

Rabbi Meir Shapira of Lublin z”l and the Gerrer Rebbe, the Imrei Emet z”l

Commemorating 90 years since Rabbi Shapira z"l's passing on Cheshvan 7, 5784 (falling on Oct. 22, 2023) By: Rabbi David Avraham Mandelbaum The Educated and Multi-talented man The Gerrer Rebbe z"l, the Imrei Emet, wrote in a letter (12 Tevet 5686/Dec. 29, 1925) about Rabbi Meir Shapira z"l: "When the Agudah was renewed etc., which is headed by the educated and multi-talented man, the genius rabbi from Piotrkow, may he be for many years." It is not for nothing that the Rebbe chose to describe Rabbi Shapira with the title "educated man of many talents." It is a title that the Rebb... Read more

Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev’s Kaddish

Commemorating the yahrzeit (anniversary of death) of the "defense attorney of the Jewish People," Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev z"l. By: Yaakov Rosenfeld The people of Israel now need the mercy of heaven. Bad news torments the soul and the fear does not rest. Tzadikim (righteous ones) said that the mere mention of the name of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev z"l is an omen for preservation and success. The tomb of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev (Kiyanka) This exhalted tzaddik, whose name raises a feeling of admiration in the hearts of chassidic people and people of fai... Read more

The Breslov Gathering on Rosh Hashana in the Hall of the Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva

By: Rabbi David Avraham Mandelbaum son of the genius chassidic Rabbi Bentzion Moshe Meir z"l, a student of the Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva Among the multitude of miraculous and clearly incomprehensible things that happened around Rabbi Meir Shapira's short and stormy life, there is the inner bond that resonated with the followers of Breslov in general, and the opening of the doors of the yeshiva in Lublin to them for their gathering during the High Holidays in particular. The tomb of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (courtesy of Wikipedia) We present here descriptions of the Breslov gatherin... Read more

“We Used to Pass through the Old City, on the Way to Porat Yosef, the Arabs would Say to Us, May Their Names Be Erased, ‘Oh Jew! We will Slaughter you Soon!’ They were Awaiting it.”

From the memories of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef z"l in the Land of Israel during the Holocaust era. These chilling matters are presented in light of the animalistic and barbaric acts of murder recently committed by the Arabs, against holy and pure Jews, the Jews of the Gaza envelope, may G-d avenge their blood. Presented on the occasion of the 10th yahrzeit (anniversary of death) of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef z"l, courtesy of the Moreshet Maran organization (with minor editorial changes). "Israel is the close nation to G-d; when they are in trouble, He cannot ignore them, He cannot." "See how it ... Read more

100 Years Since the Announcement of the Daf Yomi Study Program

By: Rabbi David Avraham Mandelbaum Heavenly Enlightenment Our teacher, Rabbi Meir Shapira's life on earth was rich in action and creativity, but one of the most important gifts he bequeathed to the people of Israel is the idea of the daf yomi (a daily page of study from the Gemara). There does not exist in the world a creation in which so many good virtues were tied as as there were to this grand idea, which was a form of heavenly enlightenment for its time and for the future. Rabbi Meir Shapira z"l Some saw the main virtue of it as the "love of the Torah" that it propagated i... Read more

The Chabad Telegram: 80 Years Later

The gabbai (assistant) of the Chabad Lubavitch synagogue in Tel Aviv received a telegram from the head of the Jewish community in Kuybyshev (now Samara, Russia), M. Feigen, requesting to immediatly send lulavs (palm fronds), etrogs (citrons), and hadasim (myrtle) by air mail This news, published on the eve of Sukkot in the year 5704 (1943) in the "Davar" newspaper, made the writer Natan Alterman very emotional, and he sat down to write a poem. And before the poem, a little background on the period and the poet. It was the year 5704 (1943). The world war was raging and the Nazi bl... Read more

“Like They Burned Everything that was Dear to Me and My World in the Crematorium of Auschwitz”

The author Yechiel Dinur, Sosnowiec - Tel Aviv Among the few Holocaust survivors of Sosnowiec, was the well-known writer who became famous at the Eichmann trial, Yechiel Dinur (whose original surname was Feiner). Yechiel chose a very meaningful pen name for himself: "K. Zetnik", derived from "KZ", the administrative abbreviation accepted by the Nazis for Konzentrationslager, meaning "concentration camp." Not many people know that Yechiel Feiner was an exceptional Torah scholar, one of the best students of the Chachmei Lublin yeshiva, and who was among the few elite students who was t... Read more

The Genius Rabbi Shlomo Zev Zweigenhaft Z”L

Rabbi Shlomo Zev Zwiegenhaft z"l, the son-in-law of the Genius of Sosnowiec, served prewar as the head shochet (ritual slaughterer) in many communities all over Poland. His father, like his grandfather and his great-grandfather, served for generations as shochets who received the slaughtering tradition from generation to generation, and the righteous of the generations strove to eat from the animals that they slaughtered. Rabbi Shlomo Zev was born in the city of Sosnowiec in the year 5676 (1915) to his father, the genius Rabbi Moshe Chaim, a student of the Avnei Nezer rabbi. As ... Read more

The Genius of Sosnowiec

Rabbi Shlomo Sztencl was a young and wonderful genius who was plucked from the world in his youth. At first he served as the rabbi of the town of Czeladz, which is close to Sosnowiec (and according to what is stated in the Yizkor book of Sosnowiec, about two thousand Jews lived in this town, most of them Radomsk or Sochaczew chassidim). About his leaving the rabbinate of this city and returning to Sosnowiec, a magnanimous story is told, "Let this be written for the last generation": The shaking hand of the butcher One day, claims began to surface about deficiencies in the butcher's ... Read more

Rabbi Yeshayahu Englard – Poland

Rabbi of Sosnowiec Rabbi Yeshayahu Englard was born in the village of Strzemieszyce, at the border between Russia and Poland. He studied with his father-in-law, the Rebbe of Krimilov, Rabbi Natan HaCohen Rabinowitz and the son of the Baal Chessed L'Avraham, Rabbi Avraham Yisachar of Radomsk. He was elected by a large majority to be the rabbi of Sosnowiec, one of the largest Polish Jewish communities. Rabbi Englard turned this community into an exemplary charedi (loosely translated as ultra-Orthodox) community, with glorious educational institutions and charitable institutions. He partic... Read more

Figures from the City of Sosnowiec

This past Tisha B'Av marked 80 years since the murder of the Jews of Sosnowiec, one of the cities of the community of Zaglembie - the nickname of Bendin and its environs (The Zaglembie region in southwestern Poland encompassed several settlements where the Jews were concentrated in those days. Bendin was the central city, and the cities around it were Sosnowiec, Piaski, Kasawar, Mielowiec, Grawice, Chenczyn, Pinchow, Chmielnik, Staszow, Władysław, Włoszczówa, Wolbrun, Szczuczyn Zarki, Zabrze, Dombrowa, Strzemieszyce, Olkusz, and Czenstochowa ) Every year on Tisha B'Av, the survivors of ... Read more

The Holy Czchówer Rebbe, the Son Born to the “Divrei Chaim” of Sanz at an Older Age, May G-d Avenge His Blood

80 Years Since His Murder in Bochnia on Elul 3, 5703 (Sept. 3, 1943) The holy Rabbi Yitzchak Yeshaya was born in 5624 (1864), the son born to Rabbi Chaim Halberstam, the "Divrei Chaim" of Sanz, at an older age. Since the dawn of his childhood, Rabbi Yeshayaleh was known as a great and holy man, and already at the age of 19 he was crowned to serve as the rabbi of the city of Czchow. In 5653 (1893) he lived in Satmar and from there he moved to Krakow. He was considered one of the greatest and most righteous of the generation, a model man, a supreme holy figure, who was great in Tor... Read more

“The Plank of a Ship”

100 years since the establishment of the Daf Yomi study program Exactly one hundred years ago, Rabbi Meir Shapira astonished the entire world when his great idea was proposed at the Agudath Israel congress, the idea of learning the Daf Yomi (a page a day of Gemara) everywhere where Jews lived. The idea, which was received with love and affection all over the world, has accompanied the Jewish People all over the world ever since. There is no known number of the "thousands of thousands of Jews" who have already completed the Shas (six orders of the Mishna) by following this study sche... Read more

Sukkot March of Those Who Never Yielded

80 years since Sukkot 5704 (1943), Plaszow Camp, in the suburbs of Krakow A sukkah in the Lodz Ghetto This month was the month of the largest killing in our camp. The oppressors demanded sacrifices from us for every holiday and occasion, and despite this, what did the remaining Jews worry about? They thought of tricks on how to observe the mitzvah of sukkah and blessing "Shehechiyanu" (Who kept us alive) during the holiday known as "Zman Simchateinu" (the time of our happiness)! A man holding a lulav (palm frond) in a DP camp On the first night of the holiday, a secret mar... Read more

Radin, A Town that Was

The children of Radin, Poland (now Radun, Belarus) - What was their fate? May G-d avenge their blood Today, ninety years ago, with the twilight of the 24th of Elul 5693 (Sept. 15, 1933), heartbroken Jews attended the funeral of the greatest of the generation, Rabbi Yisrael Meir HaCohen Kagan, the "Chafetz Chaim", the tzaddik who left a mark on generations, the genius who enlightened the eyes of Israel in his halachic books, and gave the Jewish People the gift of life, "Who is the man who desires life ('chafetz chaim')…we will guard his tongue from evil..." (Psalms 34:13-4) The Chafe... Read more

As a Father Has Mercy on His Sons (Psalms 103:13)

Parents and Children during the Holocaust By: Yaakov Rosenfeld "Many books have been compiled, and many works have been written about what happened here, and despite this, the writer or poet who can express the depth of the abyss, the horror of that world has not yet arisen… It may not be possible to describe and express what happened in human language, in the language of words... Is it possible to describe the feelings of a mother or a father or a small child on the umschlagplatz (the gathering point from which Jews were deported)? Or the moment when Dr. Mengele ordered the m... Read more

“For the Sake of Martyrs Thrown into the Fire” – The Righteous Man who Risked His Life to Thousands of Transylvanian Refugees

Elul 2 (Falling on Aug. 19th in 2023) marks the yahrzeit (anniversary of death) of the Vizhnitzer Rebbe, Rabbi Eliezer Hager z"l, known as the "Dameshek Eliezer," after his book. Seventy-seven years ago, the great and holy rabbi passed away after a fatal illness that took its toll on him, and he was only 55 years old.. Many hardships befell the Dameshek Eliezer of Vizhnitz, but he was often calm and peaceful, and "the joy of God was his fortress". Most of his days on earth were full of agony and rage, in which broken-hearted Jews required much encouragement and comfort. And if du... Read more

The Genius and Holy Boyaner-Krakow Rebbe – 80 Years Since His Murder in Auschwitz, Elul 3, 5703/Sept. 3, 1943

Rabbi Moshe ("Rabbi Moshenu") Friedman of Boyan-Krakow, may G-d avenge his blood, son of Rabbi Shalom Yosef, grandson of Rabbi Israel of Ruzhin, was born on Purim 5641 (1881) in Hosatyn, Ukraine. Upon his father's passing when he was a toddler, about two years old, Rabbi Moshe Friedman was raised by his grandfather, Rabbi Mordechai Shraga, the Rebbe of Hosatyn, and then his uncle, Rabbi Israel. When he was twenty years old, in the year 5661 (1901), he established his home with his rebbetzin, Miriam, the daughter of Rabbi Menachem Nachum of Boyan, and they moved there. There, he continued t... Read more

“The Tehran Children” – 80 Years since their Immigration to Israel

Part 2: Pinihaleh Schreiber's (later Rabbi Pinchas Schreiber, the rabbi of Ashdod) path of agony By: Rabbi Yaakov Rosenfeld, Ganzach Kiddush Hashem On Shvat 18, 5691 (February 1931), Pinchas was born to Yisrael Bunim and Tziporah in Jaroslaw, a large city filled with wise men and scribes. Rabbi Pinchas Schreiber z"l His father was a great genius, and already in Pinchas's infancy his father would meditate with him for long hours on the Torah "behind the stove" (the place where the beggars sat) in the synagogue, which can be seen in the remains of the city. As a child, his ... Read more

“For these Things I Weep, My Eyes Shed Tears” (Lamentations 1:17)

On Tisha B'Av Jews mourn the destruction; Sitting on the ground, silent, and pondering the recent and distant history. Rivers of blood rise in front of their eyes, and their tears flow unceasingly. On Tisha B'Av, Jews remember the contemporary Holocaust, the one in which hundreds of thousands of its survivors are still alive, the one whose results, or rather its records, are still etched in the nation's soul. Tisha B'av is a day of thoughts and reflections, a day of national mourning. Millions of horror stories took place during the Holocaust, but the horrors of the Holocaust are not... Read more

5703-5783 (1943-2003) – Eighty Years Since the Aliya of the Tehran Children

Ganzach Kiddush Hashem's special project - A series of essays, articles, memories, and diary excerpts First essay in the series - The memories of the Pnei Menachem, the Gerrer Rebbe, from the time he spent in the Ponevezh Home for the Elderly, Tamuz-Av 5703 (Summer 1943), in the presence of the Ponevezher Rebbe and the Tehran Children. With thanks to HaMevaser newspaper and the writer Rabbi Yekutiel Yehuda Genzler for the quality essay. The Rabbi's Son It was in the summer months of the year 5703 (1943), and our Rebbe, the Pnei Menachem, was then a young man about the age of 17. I... Read more

Treblinka: 80 Years Since the Daring Uprising and the Liquidation of the Camp, Av 1, 5703/August 2, 1943

Contents: A) On the Way to Treblinka - Ani Maamim (I Believe) B) "He Murdered and also Inherited" - The German Precision Reflected in the Looting of Victims' Property and Belongings, until the Very Last One C) The "Synagogue" D) "In a Fit of Rage" - A Description of the Uprising by the Survivors On the Way to Treblinka - Ani Maamin (I Believe) The voice of Azriel David Fastag was the talk of the whole of Warsaw. Many flocked to the synagogue where Azriel David and his brothers, also singers, used to pray during the High Holidays. Azriel David would pass in front of the ark ... Read more

The Maor VaShemesh of Krakow and Galicia

The Maor VaShemesh, 200 Years Since His Passing, 1 Tamuz 5583 (10 June 1823) By: Yaakov Rosenfeld, Ganzach Kiddush Hashem For 120 years, the grave of the Maor VaShemesh was a place of glory for Krakow Jewry. From the time he passed away on 1 Tamuz 5583, exactly 200 years ago, until that bitter day, sometime in the spring of 5703 (1943), when the Nazis destroyed the remains of the Krakow community and brought an end to a magnificent holy community that was a towering light of Torah, worship of G-d, and kindness for more than six hundred years. The Maor VaShemesh, the greatest of R... Read more

The Last Day of Sivan 5703 (June 1943), 80 Years since the Dismantling of the Belzec Death Camp

We have already written on our Hebrew site about the Belzec camp upon the 80th anniversary of its establishment. Approximately 600,000 Jews were killed in the camp and only one person survived (there was another survivor, Chaim Yitzhak Hirshman, may G-d avenge his blood, but he was killed at the end of the war on the day he began to give his testimony about his experiences in the camp). When the camp was in the process of shutting down, several hundred of the surviving prisoners were forced to work intensively in destroying the evidence and were then taken to Sobibor where they were brutal... Read more

Mlynow on the Banks of the Ikva River

By: Yaakov Rosenfeld, Ganzach Kiddush Hashem The yahrzeit (anniversary of death) of the Karliner Rebbe, Rabbi Aharon II (Sivan 17, 5632/June 23, 1872, 151 years ago) is the time to remember the city of Mlynow, a Jewish city that was destroyed and almost no survivors remained. The Beit Aharon, as he was known, was on the way to his granddaughter's wedding, and stopped in the city of Mlynow. Suddenly, he announced "Oh, my sky is cloudy!" He began to prepare for his passing from the world, said viduy (confessional prayer) with concentration, got on a bed, and thus died out of supreme menta... Read more

On the Closing of the 30 Initial Days of Mourning for the Czchov-Scinawa Rebbe – Rabbi Chaim Yosef Moshe Kanner z”l, Head of the Talmud Torah “Torat Emet” School

On Nisan 29, 5783 (April 20, 2023) Rabbi Chaim Yosef Moshe Kanner z"l, son of Rabbi Avraham Abish Kanner, the Czchow Rebbe, left this world. By: Devorah Surasky On the eve of the Chanuka 5783 (2022), as part of the project "From Afar You WIll See the Land: Cyprus - The Last Stop" at Ganzach Kiddush Hashem, an interview was held of the Rebbe, with the participation of his son, the Rebbe Rabbi Yissachar Yoel. In his testimony, the Rebbe recounted his family's experiences in the days of rage and in exile in Cyprus, from when he was a seventeen-year-old boy. Pieces of his father's greatness... Read more

80 Years Since the Liquidation of the Lvov Ghetto

Iyar 17, 5783 (May 18, 2023) By: Yaakov Rosenfeld, Ganzach Kiddush Hashem Few of the 110,000 Lvov Jews survived the war. Lemberg, as it was known during WWII (and now is Lviv, Ukraine), was the largest and most famous city in Galicia, formerly the capital of Western Galicia. Lvov was the third largest Jewish community in Poland after Warsaw and Lodz, and the great leaders of the generation, who were famous and considered as giants, served as rabbis there. It is enough to mention a small number of them, well-known names such as the "Maharam of Lublin," the "Sama," the "Maginei Shlomo," ... Read more

Moshele Der Zinger (Moshele the Singer)

The cantor Moshe Shimon Kraus z"l, on his passing. By: Yaakov Rosenfeld, Ganzach Kiddush Hashem It was with great sadness that we received the news of the passing of the elderly chassid, Rabbi Moshe Shimon Kraus (Moshele) z"l. The cantor, born in Munkacs, survived the war and was widely known as a gifted cantor, a charming man who always had a smile on his face, a smile that did not betray in the slightest what happened to the "prodigy child." The cantor Moshele Kraus was taken out of the depths of the abyss by the Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe, known as the "Shefa Adam", with his own ha... Read more

The Orphan Boy from the Town who was the Glory of the Torah World

By: Yaakov Rosenfeld, Ganzach Kiddush Hashem Who hasn't heard of the "Tehran Children"? It is doubtful, though, whether today's youth know what and who this phrase is referring to. Today, the great Rosh Yeshiva (head of a yeshiva), Rabbi Gershon Edelstein z"l, passed away. In his youth, he gave his all to the Tehran Children, who after suffering and upheavals came to Israel with no education and basic knowledge because the terrible war robbed them of their childhood and teenage years. Rabbi Gershon was a Jew of self-sacrifice. His mother, from whom he was orphaned in his youth, ... Read more

80 Years Since the Liquidation of the Community of Brody

80 years ago, on the day before Lag BaOmer 5703 (1943), the Brody Ghetto was liquidated, and thus came the end of the great and famous city that was affectionately known as "Brod". For hundreds of years the city of Brod lived and bustled, which in its glory days had an absolute Jewish majority (close to ninety percent of the city, before the First World War). In the year 5665 (1905), it had twenty-four Talmud Torah schools, and several yeshivas and charitable organizations that were there for the glory of all of Galicia. Among the charitable organizations that were already active in Brod i... Read more

Rabbi Avraham Shlomo Levison z”l

One of the important rabbis of Holland, nicknamed "Rabbi Simcha" (happiness) even though his name was never Simcha… Written in memory of the revered rabbi who perished in the "Lost Train", on the 12th of Iyar 5705 (April 25, 1945). By: Yaakov Rosenfeld, Ganzach Kiddush Hashem Rabbi Avraham Shlomo was born in 5662 (1902). He was a G-d-fearing and exceptional Torah scholar who, in his youth, was already able to teach, and in the year 5695 (1934-5) he was appointed to serve as the rabbi of the city of Leeuwarden and the chief rabbi of the entire district of Friesland. At the same ti... Read more

Between Passover and Shavuot in the Ghetto

The period between Passover and Shavuot is a time of trying to better one's character. In this period, Rabbi Akiva's disciples died (in ancient times) for "not showing respect to one another", and that is why they are mourned. During the days of counting the Omer (from Passover to Shavuot), according to what is stated in the holy books, we work gradually on improving our character until Shavuot. Correcting one's character constitutes preparation for receiving the Torah, because the Torah and its mitzvahs have no value without character development: Derech eretz (loosely translated as "good... Read more

Atara Abramson, May G-d Avenge her Blood

75 years since she died in santification of G-d's Name. Iyar 4, 5708 - Iyar 4, 5783 (May 13, 1948-April 25, 2023) The chassidic rabbi, Rabbi Avigdor Abramson, one of the Chassidim and an influential person in the town of Wielun in the Lodz district of Poland, led a warm chassidic home with his wife, Rivka. The city center of Wielun, Poland, bombed by the German army At the outbreak of the war, he was almost forty years old. In the testimonial page provided by his nephew, it appears that Avigdor died of starvation during the year 1942. Both he, and his wife Rivka, like all ... Read more

Rabbi Shem Kleinberg, May G-d Avenge His Blood

80 Years Since He was Murdered in Sanctification of G-d's Name Rabbi Shem Kleinberg was righteous and holy. "The righteous one is the foundation of the universe" (Proverbs 10:25); he was a kabbalist, accepted by the great men of the generation, who appreciated him and his opinions. His Story: His father was the grandson of Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac of Komarno, who was a "Sar Beit HaZohar" (well versed in the kabbalistic book of Zohar). His mother was the daughter of Rabbi Moshe Rotenberg, of Skola, also a rebbe of Komarno descent. His rare name, Shem, was given according to the instr... Read more

The Gemara that was Translated in the Cellar

A special article in honour of 80 years since the start of an amazing project By: Yaakov Rosenfeld In the month of Av 5783 (summer 2023), about three months from now, it will be the fortieth anniversary of the passing of Rabbi Shmuel Hibner z"l, who for most of his days served as the rabbi of the "Skola" congregation in Brooklyn, New York. Perhaps it would have been worthwhile to dedicate a separate page to the man and his work then, around the day of his 40th yahrseit (anniversary of death), but "who can withold words?" (Job 4:2) now, at the eightieth anniversary of those dark and d... Read more