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New York - New Book Opposes View That Satmar, Belz, Ger Rebbes Escaped Nazis, While Leaving Their Chasidim Behind

Published on: September 10, 2008 10:29 AM
By: Haaretz with edit by VIN News
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New York - Among the questions and very controversial issues that continue to be bitterly debated, serving as a source of constant friction, false accusations,  and hostility in the relations between Orthodox and the rest of the Jewish and Zionist world, is false accusations that many Gedolim fled the Nazis while leaving behind their chasidim.

this topic and has recently surfaced on many secular web sites.

Now comes a very well researched book By an orthodox Jewish woman Esther Farbstein which examines from the vantage point of halakha (Jewish law) in “Hidden in Thunder.”  she brings an added dimension to our knowledge of events and topics in which Orthodox leaders, and especially rabbis, were directly involved during the Holocaust.

In this respect, Farbstein’s motivation in undertaking this ambitious project is crystal clear. As she writes in her preface to the first volume, she seeks to “unveil” the world of Jewish law and thought to “historians whose access to this material is limited.” In her opinion, religious life during the Shoah has been ignored for many years not only because there is a lack of testimonies from observant survivors, but also because there is a tendency among Holocaust scholars, almost none of whom are ultra-Orthodox Jews themselves, to create a “political-polemic atmosphere” around religious Jewry and its leaders, which leads them to make sweeping assumptions that lack a factual basis. These are then compounded, she suggests, by those scholars’ own lack of understanding of the inner world of believing Jews.

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Farbstein is correct when she points out that each such decision must be analyzed separately, given their different historical contexts. (The Ger Rebbe escaped from Poland in 1940, the Belzer left Poland initially and then Hungary in January 1944 and the Satmar was on the “Kasztner transport” released in December 1944.)

Farbstein comes to her task with unique credentials. With a graduate degree from the Hebrew University’s Institute of Contemporary Jewry, the world’s premier institution for Holocaust studies, and with a most-impressive ultra-Orthodox pedigree as the wife of the head of the Hebron Yeshiva and the great-granddaughter of the Ger Rebbe, Avraham Mordechai Alter, Farbstein possesses the necessary tools to conduct pioneering research in the field: access to Haredi sources, knowledge of the mindset of ultra-Orthodox Jews and training as a professional historian.

Farbstein justifies the escape of the rebbes, she also points to the extremely positive and inspirational role played by those rabbis who did not escape overseas, leaving unanswered the obvious question of the positive role that the Ger, Belzer and Satmar Rebbes could have played had they chosen to remain with their communities.

this book does perform an important service by bringing many previously inaccessible sources by ultra-Orthodox authors to the knowledge of scholars and other interested parties. It also provides insight into the hitherto-unknown role played by certain Polish rabbis in spreading knowledge of the Final Solution. Also of interest and importance are the sections dealing with the response of Orthodox rabbis to various ethical dilemmas, such as demands to turn over Jews (as mentioned above) or to compile lists of Jews to be sent to camps. In that respect, it is clear that Jewish law was put to severe tests by the trials and tribulations experienced by Jewish leaders and communities during the Shoah, a point repeatedly emphasized by Farbstein.

The above article is reprinted with some edit by VIN News from Israeli newspaper Haaretz. VIN News strongly recommends this book, its a true masterpiece, and the only book written on this subject.

VIN News has received 100’s of emails in the past 6 moths to address this issue therefore we find this book extremely informative. We know this is highly controversial, we invite our readers who have vast knowledge of research to post comments. or email us.

Below is the description of the book on Feldheim Publishing  web site
Perspectives on Faith, Halachah, and Leadership during the Holocaust. From amidst the unspeakable ravages of the Holocaust emerges this breathtaking book—a wellspring of faith, perspective, and astonishing testimonies of witnesses. In these two meticulously researched and heart-stirring volumes lies the unbroken spirit of the millions of Jews who willingly and lovingly sacrificed their lives while sanctifying Hashem’s Name at the murderous hands of the Nazis. Halachic questions asked of rabbonim of the era give piercing insight into the darkest moments experienced by our brethren—and the blinding light of faith to which they clung even when faced with horrific challenges. Astounding in its scope, this work also examines the post-war era, opening a window upon the stark and brutal realities of those who survived and their supreme struggles to rebuild their lives. It is simply impossible to describe the vast depth and detail of this monumental work; even a peripheral reading will reveal its importance and the precious lessons it contains. Rich with historical documentation—some of it presented here for the first time—these volumes are truly eye-opening. Covers a broad spectrum of topics: individual and communal prayer, the role of rabbis at the time, halachic and moral issues which arose including dilemmas concerning rescuing people, hidden children, marriage, and agunot. Special attention is given in this work to the survivors’ lives after liberation and the material, emotional, and spiritual problems that they faced.



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1

 Sep 10, 2008 at 10:47 AM Never understood Says:

Satmar was on the “Kasztner transport”

Zionists.

2

 Sep 10, 2008 at 11:08 AM Joseph Says:

Kastner was a rusho mrusho who sold 400,000 Hungarian Jews to Adolf Eichmann to kill.

3

 Sep 10, 2008 at 11:13 AM Joseph Says:

Only Heinrich Himmler could turn off the liquidation machine. It was in 1944, the year of the assassination attempt on Hitler, when Reichsführer Himmler took over as commander of the Reserve Army, that he authorized me to propose an exchange: one million Jews for 10,000 winterized trucks with trailers. The World Jewish Organization could decide for itself what Jews it wanted to choose. We asked only that they get us 10,000 trucks. Thanks to Himmler’s directive, I could assure them, on my word of honor, that these trucks would be used only on the Eastern front. As I said at the time, “When the 10,000 winterized trucks with trailers are here, then the liquidation machine in Auschwitz will be stopped.

In obedience to Himmler’s directive I now concentrated on negotiations with the Jewish political officials in Budapest. One man stood out among them, Dr. Rudolf Kastner, authorized representative of the Zionist movement. This Dr. Kastner was a young man about my age, an ice-cold lawyer and a fanatical Zionist. He agreed to help keep the Jews from resisting deportation and even keep order in the collection camps if I would close my eyes and let a few hundred or a few thousand young Jews emigrate illegally to Palestine. It was a good bargain. For keeping order in the camps, the price of 15,000 to 20,000 Jews - in the end there may have been more - was not too high for me.

Except perhaps for the first few sessions, Kastner never came to me fearful of the Gestapo strong man. We negotiated entirely as equals. People forget that. We were political opponents trying to arrive at a settlement, and we trusted each other perfectly. When he was with me, Kastner smoked cigarettes as though he were in a coffeehouse. While we talked he would smoke one aromatic cigarette after another, taking them from a silver case and lighting them with a little silver lighter. With his great polish and reserve he would have made an ideal Gestapo officer himself.

Dr. Kastner’s main concern was to make it possible for a select group of Hungarian Jews to emigrate to Israel. But the Arrow Cross, the Hungarian fascist party, had grown strong and stubborn. Its inspectors permitted no exceptions to the mass deportations. So the Jewish officials turned to the German occupation authorities. They realized that we were specialists who had learned about Jewish affairs through years of practice.

As a matter of fact, there was a very strong similarity between our attitudes in the SS and the viewpoint of these immensely idealistic Zionist leaders who were fighting what might be their last battle. As I told Kastner: “We, too, are idealists and we, too, had to sacrifice our own blood before we came to power.”

I believe that Kastner would have sacrificed a thousand or a hundred- thousand of his blood to achieve his political goal. He was not interested in old Jews or those who had become assimilated into Hungarian society. But he was incredibly persistent in trying to save biologically valuable Jewish blood, that is, human material that was capable of reproduction and hard work. “You can have the others,” he would say, “but let me have this group here.” And because Kastner rendered us a great service by helping keep the deportation camps peaceful, I would let his groups escape. After all, I was not concerned with small groups of a thousand or so Jews.

At the same time Kastner was bargaining with another SS of official a Colonel Kurt Becker. Becher was bartering Jews for foreign exchange and goods on direct orders from Himmler. A crafty operator, Becher had come to Hungary originally to salvage a stud farm which the SS wanted. He soon wormed his way into dealings with the Jews. In a way, Reichsführer Himmler was Becher’s captive. Becher showed me once a gold necklace he was taking to our chief. There were other agencies, German and Hungarian, which tapped Kastner for foreign exchange in return for Jews, but I held aloof from money affairs and left the material transactions to Becher.

Men under Becher’s command guarded a special group of 700 Jews whom Kastner had requested from a list. They were mostly young people, although the group also included Kastner’s entire family. I did not care if Kastner took his relatives along. he could take them wherever he wanted to.

—A. Eichmann, “Eichmann Tells His Own Damning Story”, Life Magazine, Volume 49, Number 22, (28 November 1960), pp. 19-25, 101-112; and “Eichmann’s Own Story: Part II”, Life Magazine, (5 December 1960), pp. 146-161; at 146.

4

 Sep 10, 2008 at 11:12 AM Joseph Says:

This is a quote from Rudolf Vrba, who escaped Auschwitz and reported what was happening there to the Hungarian Zionist leader Kastner:

I am a Jew. In spite of that, indeed because of that, I accuse certain Jewish leaders of one of the most ghastly deeds of the war. This small group of quislings knew what was happening to their brethren in Hitler's gas chambers and bought their own lives with the price of silence. Among them was Dr. Kasztner, leader of the council which spoke for all Jews in Hungary. While I was prisoner number 44070 at Auschwitz - the number is still on my arm - I compiled careful statistics of the exterminations . . . I took these terrible statistics with me when I escaped in 1944 and I was able to give Hungarian Zionist leaders three weeks notice that Eichmann planned to send a million of their Jews to his gas chambers . . . Kasztner went to Eichmann and told him, 'I know of your plans; spare some Jews of my choice and I shall keep quiet.' Eichmann not only agreed, but dressed Kasztner up in S.S. uniform and took him to Belsen to trace some of his friends. Nor did the sordid bargaining end there. Kasztner paid Eichmann several thousand dollars. With this little fortune, Eichmann was able to buy his way to freedom when Germany collapsed, to set himself up in the Argentine . . .

________________

This is a quote from the ruling by Israeli Judge Halevi against Kastner:

It is clear that the positive recommendation by Kastner, not only in his own name but also in the name of the Jewish Agency and the Jewish World Congress was of decisive importance for [Nazi Col. Kurt] Becher. Kastner did not exaggerate when he said that Becher was released by the Allies because of his personal intervention. The lies in the affidavit of Kastner and the contradictions and various pretexts, which were proven to be lies, were sufficient to annul the value of his statements and to prove that there was no good faith in his testimony in favor of this German war criminal. Kastner’s affidavit in favor of Becher was a willfully false affidavit given in favor of a war criminal to save him from trial and punishment in Nuremberg.

(The Judge also found Kastner guilty of "selling his soul to the devil", the devil being Eichmann and the deal Kastner struck with Eichmann allowing Eichmann to easily deport Hungarian Jewry to Auschwitz without resistance.)

5

 Sep 10, 2008 at 11:16 AM MARK Says:

MS FARBSTEIN REPLACES DR KRANZLER A"H AS AS A TOOL TO CLEANS THE RABBIS,WE ALL KNOW THE REAL TRUTH MARK MAYER APPEL

6

 Sep 10, 2008 at 11:54 AM gabriel Says:

Fact: Kastner in his trial in Tel Aviv testified that only he himself decided on who will be on the train to freedom, close to 400 people where brought from Klasenburg to Budapest to join on the train (including his whole family, and the family of his father in-law Dr Fisher the head of the mizraci party in Klasenburg) among mostly zionist leaders and their families, he further testified that although he himself chose each and every person on the list but, with the exception of one person Rabbi Teitelbaum whom was added on the request of his father in-law Dr. Fisher, ( despite that the jewish community leaders of Budapest paid astronomical amounts for the organizers to include the Rabbi, who was well known at that time to be the most vocal anti-zionist, he was not included ) untill Dr Fisher (who had orthodox parents) insisted that the Rabbi should be included.

When the Rabbi asked him why he insist for him to join when the whole rescue operation was mostly for Zionist leaders? He explained that he hopes if he joins that in his merits “זכות” the operation will be successful, which it was.

It is a well known fact that the Rabbi was literally the only person survived the concentration camps with out ever cutting or trimming his beard, although it was in many instances a sure dead sentence to do so, to suggest that he had מסירות נפש ממש for this but, he wouldn’t have מסירות נפש for a fellow jew by abandonment or otherwise is ludicrous at best and an out right lie.

And to think that Dr Kastner who organized the mission by the Zionists and for the Zionists only, will consider the rescue of their well know arch enemy even at that time is behind comprehension and trumps logic on it’s head.

7

 Sep 10, 2008 at 11:50 AM mikey Says:

Too many "Gedolim" and "non religious Leaders" told the people that concentration/extermination camps were only rumor while they themselves (with a few hasidim or assistants) hid and fled.

There are many letters from relatives of these leaders addressing just this issue and pointing out and asking "why did you mislead your own family".

Pointing fingers at either Religious or non religious or zionist or whatever belief is useless - there is enough guilt by hindsight to go around.

The real criminals were the Nazisn and their sympathizers assisted by Western nations that didn't act until it was too late. Jews were victims who did what was necessary to survive.

8

 Sep 10, 2008 at 12:03 PM Yitzchok K Says:

The Satmer Rebbe was sent to Bergen Belsen with the rest of his chasidim.He did not hide nor run from his chasidim. Kastner's deal with Eichman was to trade Hungarian Jewry for the Hungarian Roshei Kohol, leaders, and "machers". Since the Satmar Rebbe was one of the Roshei Kohol, he was pulled out of death camp and put on the Kastner train with 1500 others.

While in the camp, the Satmer Rebbe was given a choice "job" in the kitchen and was not forced to shave his beard. This was because Satmar chasidim in Switzerland managed to bribe the camp commandant to give the Rebbe this treatment.

Source: my 3 aunts who were in the camp with the Rebbe and also with him on the Kastner train.

9

 Sep 10, 2008 at 12:16 PM Anonymous Says:

Mark Meyer Appel has chutzpa and is an "azus panim". The Hashgocho saved these Gedolim to re-establish Klal Yisroel again after the war. There is no "cleansing" necessary here - just pure Emunah in Hashem - which you seem to lack.
These Gedolim knew what was to happen to Klal Yisroel, tried to be "mevatel" the "Gzar Din", but were not allowed to from Heaven. This is how it was to be, and therefore it was so.
Thanks to Mrs Farbstein for replacing Rabbi Kranzler A"H for telling the truth to all that want to hear truth.
P.S. - It is well known that the Belzer Rebbe ZT"L rented an aprartment across the street where Hitler YM"S lived, and was mispallel day and night for many days, but could not be "mevatel" the "gezeira". The Gerrer Rebbe ZT"L was known to encourage Yidden to move to Eretz Yisroel well before the "Gezeira". He wrote many letters to that effect. It is a fact that they knew, and could not stop it. But it was a "chesed" for future generations that they were saved B"H.

10

 Sep 10, 2008 at 12:38 PM MARK Says:

TO ANONYMOUS

MY LIFE IS SPENT HOSTING AND SUPPORTING GEDOLA HATORA AT MY HOUSE .........FACTS ARE FACTS WHILE MY BROTHERS,GRANPARENTS DIED IN AUSHWITZ SOME SO CALLED RABBONIN ACTUALLY RIPPED UP PASSPORTS AND BOARDING PASSES TO A FREE AMERICA READ ANN PORTEMANS BOOK.BECAUSE OF MY FAMMILY LOST SO MANY MEMBERS I SPENT 2 WEEKS AT YAD VASHEM FOR RESEARCH.DID YOU KNOW THAT RABBI STEVEN WEISS BEGGED THE VAAD HAZOLA IN 1942 TO DEMONSTRATER IN WASHINGTON,THE VAAD HATZOLA RESPONDED WITH A VULGAR STATEMENT THAT WE RABBIS DO THINGS IN OUR WAY AND CALLED ON ALL WHO DEMONSTATE AGAINST THE NAZIS GRAVEDIGGERS OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE(YAD VASHEM BULLETIN NO 10(1941)



WITH LOVE FOR TRUE REBEES LOVE AM ECHAD MARK MAYER APPEL

11

 Sep 10, 2008 at 12:45 PM Reb Yid Says:

This is a very tragic and horrible time in our history. The author is certainly to be commended for adding to the scholarly research.

Just a couple of points, though:

1. She seems to be nogeiah bedovor, given her lineage.

2. Were there non-chasidic gedolim who were extricated from the Holocaust? I seem to remember R. Elchonon Wasserman essentially plunging himself into the fire.

12

 Sep 10, 2008 at 01:34 PM Ken Taylor Says:

This is to correct a statement by Mark Appel. He Writes:
"RABBI STEVEN WEISS BEGGED THE VAAD HAZOLA IN 1942 TO DEMONSTRATER IN WASHINGTON,THE VAAD HATZOLA RESPONDED WITH A VULGAR STATEMENT THAT WE RABBIS DO THINGS IN OUR WAY AND CALLED ON ALL WHO DEMONSTATE AGAINST THE NAZIS GRAVEDIGGERS OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE(YAD VASHEM BULLETIN NO 10(1941) "
Rabbi Steven Weiss was actually against any and all demonstrations against the Nazis. This is all documented in public files at the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC.
Rabbi Weiss even called Robert Morgentau Sr. who was at that time a cabinet member in the Roosevelt Administration and asked him not to allow a meeting with Rabbi Kalmonovitz and Rabbi Silver, (who drove up to Washington on Shabbos) and high placed administration officials. His reasoning was that the "orthodox" rabbis do not represent the Jewish People. He was actually embarrassed by the "bearded" rabbis. Rabbi Weiss's son actually repeated this on many Bnei - Brit Functions.
I am not disputing anything Mr. Appel wrote except for this fact that anybody who goes to the Museum can actually see with their own eyes.

13

 Sep 10, 2008 at 01:57 PM Baltimorean Says:

I am appalled by the ignorance of some of your contributors. Three years under Hitler in Vienna, 4 years in various concentration camps and afterward 3 years in hospitals to recuperate from the maltreatment I received at the Wache gives me more insight than anybody, I was a ben-bayis at a house of a rav who was a Belzer Toshav and spoke to the Belzer Rebbe Tzichus Yoguleini and the Belzer Rebbe refused to speak about this issue.
There is no answer. I davened in the Ghetto in Lodz, in Czenstochau and in Buchenwald. I davened because I had a father who cried when he said Ani Maamim and a mother whose entire life was chesed.
I had little cousins in Vienna ages 11 1/2 and 12 who went to the gas chambers and these fools will tell that it was Hashgocho that they had to breath Zyklon B. Fools, shoitim and mechuzivim. You never smelled the smoke from a crematoria and never saw a terror stricken face of a child on a selektion. Keep discussing Rubashkin. Nobody has an answer only the Ribonei Shel Olam

14

 Sep 10, 2008 at 01:56 PM MARK Says:

KEN,, THAT WAS IN 1944 DO YOU DISPUTE THE FACT THAT RABBI WEISS CAME TO THE LOWE EAST SIDE AT THE OFFICES OF THE VAAD IN 1942?????????????????????? AND BEGGED THE VAAD TO PROTEST

15

 Sep 10, 2008 at 01:31 PM Anonymous Says:

The question is not why the gedolim (litvisher also) left. Rather, the question is why they told their followers to stay.

16

 Sep 10, 2008 at 01:14 PM yankel Says:

I think the book was written by Germans using a Jewish name Esther Farbstein. I dont think any jew would have such Chutzpah to talk that way about Gedolei Olem.

17

 Sep 10, 2008 at 02:01 PM Baltimorean Says:

One of my little cousins, attended Bais Yaakov in Vienna in the thirties. Kastner is such unsavory person because at the level he dealt only the unsavory ones survived.

18

 Sep 10, 2008 at 02:00 PM Rabbi Lebovic Says:

The Chasam Soifer in Sefer Hazikoroin says, there are different opinions between gedolim in dangerous situations,if they should stay or leave. If their Tefiloh will be heard better when they are inside the danger or outside. He himself at this time,left the town. So, it's not for small minds like us,to judge gedolim.

19

 Sep 10, 2008 at 01:12 PM Anonymous Says:

for all those that are defending the rabbis please have some hard evidence. Like the one who said there are letters from the Gerrer Rebbe please post the letters or provide a link that we can view them.

Point blank the rabbis miscalculated, made a mistake at best. If they would have handled it differently and said right away lets leave, go to USA many more Jews yiddin would have ben saved.
That is a no brainier.

I do not want to go into their heads or what their motive was since I did not know them personally, however saying they erred does not make them bad people. Just HUMAN (they were human) and human makes mistakes. By trying to whitewash their actions that no matter what they did was great shows that one cannot think on their own, or use cortical logic to evaluate a situation.

Funny, how the same actions,if done by frie yid is bad, when done by rebbe it is great.

One cannot say the rebbis that told their chassidum to leave where on target, and the ones that told them to stay, were on target to. That is illogical. However that is what she claims. that proves she cannot look at the evidence with a critical eye.

Saying your rebbie made an error does not mean he was no a godol. To think that a rebbie CANNOT make an error is very very scary

20

 Sep 10, 2008 at 02:05 PM MARK Says:

"YOU ARE THE GRAVEDIGGERS OF OUR PEOPLE.YOUR PROCLAIMED A BOYCOTT AGAINST GERMANY, STRONGLY WORDED RESOLUTIONS.HITLER IS NOT THE FIRST HAMAN IN OUR HISTORY.THE EXPERIENCE OF CENTURIES HAS TAUGHT US HOW TO DEAL WITH HAMAN,STOP THE PROVOCATIONS. LET US RESCUE OUR PEOPLE THROGH OUR TESED METHODS." THEES ARE THW WORDS IN REPLY TO WEISS REQEST FOR A PROTEST MARCH IN 1942 as printed in the yad vashem by aryea leib kubovoy who was the meeting history can not be changed we can do better .mark mayer appel

21

 Sep 10, 2008 at 02:05 PM anon Says:

Baltimorean - such a sad story. My heart goes out to you.

22

 Sep 10, 2008 at 02:09 PM MARK Says:

facts,,,,,,,1 vaad hatzolas notes are nowhere to be found for the period of 1941-1945 the rabbis only marched in 1944 under pressure from the greatest man in history peter bergson

23

 Sep 10, 2008 at 02:13 PM MARK Says:

my familly led the munkantcher beis for 200 years.my zaidy helped the darkei tesuva publish his seforim.the rebbe was a holy zzadik but erred in in judgement.....we must learn from our past mistakes and never be silent again mayer

24

 Sep 10, 2008 at 02:34 PM sick of the political liars Says:

the rebbes ofGUR andLUBAVITCH were able to escape from Warsaw becayse they had connections in AMERICA which facilitated their escape.the RIZHINER rebbes of VIENNAalso managed to get out of VIENNA through their connections in the free world.The BELZERrebbe escaped from BOCHNIA in 1943 through his connections with his HASIDIM in HUNGARY. the satmar rebbe escaped via theKASTNER train.ALL the other rebbes who perished had no way to get out.THe rebbes who escaped did not do anything contrary to HALACHA .THERE was nbo purpose for them to stay behind and die with everybody else they did not save themselves at the expense of anothee JEW.PIKUACH nEFESH takes precedence over everything except for the 3 cardinal sins

25

 Sep 10, 2008 at 02:49 PM Anonymous Says:

To Anonymous 1:12PM: Letters are in sefer "Osef Michtavim".
You are right that the Gedolim that told people to stay, were not in error or necessarily lesser Gedolim - that is the way Hashem wanted it.
In the Megilla it says that "Mordechai yuda es kol asher na'aso" which Rashi explains that Eliyahu Hanavi told him about Hamans gezeira. However, the rest of the 71 Sanhedrin, tzadikim in their own right, knew nothing.
Who should know about what Hitler YM"S and his animals were going to do to the Yiden, and who should not, and their individual responses to the situation was totally orchestrated by the Ribonno Shel Olam.

26

 Sep 10, 2008 at 02:48 PM bracha S. Says:

Even if the Satmar Rebbe was saved by a Zionist - and he was - isn't it still an Inyan to be makir Tov? Kastner was posthumously proclaimed a hero of the Holocuast and he did some of the same things (bartering lives for money) as Rabbi Weissmandel who did not survive. You cannot compare the two. One was an athiest doing it for Zionistic causes and one a Zaddik veGadol - But one should still be Makir Tov to the instrument of Hashem's Yeshua - which the Satmar Rebbe most definetly was not!

27

 Sep 10, 2008 at 02:47 PM Zalman Says:

MARK,

Steven Weiss ym's wanted the Vaad to join his boycott/protest of Germany. This boycott did no good and only served to enrage the Germans to retaliate against the Jews. Steven Weiss is a complete rasho and Jew-killer.

28

 Sep 10, 2008 at 02:46 PM Anonymous Says:

P.S. - It is well known that the Belzer Rebbe ZT"L rented an aprartment across the street where Hitler YM"S lived, and was mispallel day and night for many days, but could not be "mevatel" the "gezeira".

_________________________________________________
prove please, and who would rent to Jew. I do not believe this unless I see some prove. This is pure fantasy unless proven

There are times for action and time for prayer during those times action would be better.

When I look at the Torah I see Moshe rabanue call all able men to go and take up arms and fight. I do not see Moshea saying daven more pray more, no take arms and fight. Moshe Rebenue was a smart guy and if he lived during that time he would have been a resistance fighter for the underground fighting or smuggling jews out of Germany Poland and not saying well hashem want them to die

______________________________________________
to sick of the political liars

okay. but why did they encourage their flock to stay instead of telling them to leave at all costs.

29

 Sep 10, 2008 at 03:09 PM moish Says:

to bracha s. rabbi weissmandel did survive the holocaust and he built a yeshiva in mount kisco

30

 Sep 10, 2008 at 03:05 PM Anonymous Says:

to those that bring up the trial of Kastner you forgot the mention a well know fact the verdict was overturn and stated a great misjudgment was done.

The Supreme Court of Israel overturned most of the judgment against Kastner in 1958. The majority decision said:

1. During that period Kastner was motivated by the sole motive of saving Hungary's Jews as a whole, that is, the largest possible number under the circumstances of time and place as he estimated could be saved.
2. This motive fitted the moral duty of rescue to which he was subordinated as a leader of the Relief and Rescue Committee in Budapest.
3. Influenced by this motive he adopted the method of financial or economic negotiation with the Nazis.
4. Kastner's behavior stands the test of plausibility and reasonableness.
5. His behavior during his visit to Cluj (on May 3rd) and afterwards, both its active aspect (the plan of the "prominents") and its passive aspect (withholding the "Auschwitz news" and lack of encouragement for acts of resistance and escape on a large scale) – is in line with his loyalty to the method which he considered, at all important times, to be the only chance of rescue.
6. Therefore one cannot find a moral fault in his behavior, one cannot discover a casual connection between it and the easing of the concentration and deportation, one cannot see it as becoming a collaboration with the Nazis. [3

many of you guys here are a piece of work if frum person (like when they saved the better learned bochorem in the yeshivas) picked and choose who should be saved they are holy men great men. However, if a frie yid did the same he is a murderer. You cannot have it both ways.

Yes he picked and choose but did save many, the other option was simply let all die. Which would you choose, I assume from your comments it would have been better if all would have gone to the gas chambers.

I however think the better option was to save the 1700 people

33

 Sep 10, 2008 at 03:24 PM Joseph Says:

bracha S.:
According to your argument, the Rebbe should be "makir tov" Adolf Eichmann for having arranged and approved the entire escape train. Both Eichmann and Kastner were killers and deserve no makir tov. They both worked hand in hand.

Anon3:05:
3 of 4 counts were indeed overturned by the higher court on a split verdict of 3-2. But so what? The amazing part is that the judges, who were zionists themselves, Levi at the trial court and the 2 appelette judges who found Kastner guilty on all counts were willing to admit as much.

Kastner rescued to release to the public the Vrba-Wetzler Report documenting what the Nazis were doing to the Jews in Aushwitz. Therefore the Jews went onto the deportation trains without attempting to flee or resist.

34

 Sep 10, 2008 at 03:27 PM Joseph Says:

My last paragraph should've read:

Kastner REFUSED to release the Vrba-Wetzler Report documenting what the Nazis were doing to the Jews in Aushwitz.

35

 Sep 10, 2008 at 03:58 PM Anonymous Says:

Anonymous Says:
comments - arrow To Anonymous 1:12PM: Letters are in sefer "Osef Michtavim".
You are right that the Gedolim that told people to stay, were not in error or necessarily lesser Gedolim - that is the way Hashem wanted it.

__________________________________________________

I saw the letter is was a general letter that people should go to eretsz Yisroel, nothing about saving oneself or anything close to that. maybe I am wrong but that is i saw. Not very convincing I might add. Also he saved his family but his flock, we know the answer to that.

In addition I said they where in error, history proves that. If you can say that is what hashem wanted why not jump of a building if you die, if you do that is what hashem wanted. also do you have a special pipeline to hashem, did hashem tell you he wanted six million to die?

In other words, in your way of thinking it did not matter what A godol did or did not do, since the godol actions or non action is what hashem wanted. You are elevating the godoliem to g-ds since only hashem cannot error, people no matter how holy can. The Torah says so Moshe erred, and so cabn satmer Gerr, Beltz etc.

36

 Sep 10, 2008 at 03:48 PM mikey Says:

Many more jews could have been saved if Rebbes wouldn't have called everything outside of Europe treif. Yet given the opportunity they went to treif medinas.
Many jews had papers to go to parts of South America but wouldn't go - their Rebbe said its no good - treif.
Many jews could have joined partisan groups had they not laid down their arms and given their weapons to the police stations (a reason we historicly should support the right to bear arms).

We could re-examine with many "if only" it is pointless.

I am insulted by people trying to rewrite history- Stephen Weiss was anti-orthodox and feared WWII being called a jewish war. The Vaad was made up of a bunch of shnurrers as they are now and real action is beyond them (didn't protest Gush katif surrender or entire fake peace process now).

Rebbes should have told their followers to fight to the last man or start walking to Israel en mass - but what happened happened.

37

 Sep 10, 2008 at 03:47 PM Fluffy Dan Says:

Mark, who was your grandfather??? My whole family is munkatch from der heim.

38

 Sep 10, 2008 at 03:34 PM Yom-Tov Says:

I had never read that the I. Supreme Court overturned the verdict against Kastner - but if so, you can be sure this was due to the fact that the trial and the original verdict was a black eye for the Zionists - showing their collaberation with the Nazis and their placing their nationalistic aspirations over the lives of European Jewry. Read "Perfidy" by Ben Hecht.
The survival and escape of these Rebbis - as well as others who survived such as the Klausenberger R. - was a great gift and chessed from Hashem to our poor generation. No questions need be asked or answered.

39

 Sep 10, 2008 at 04:09 PM Anonymous Says:

To Joseph I will check on the facts you state

also why is it when it comes to people like Kastner you or others can look at evidence critically, but cannot or will not do the same to the satmer, gerr , beltz. It seems the same evidence presented against these godoliem are ignore with statements like this is what hashem wanted. The same could be said about Kastner, he only did what hashem wanted. Hitler only did what hashem wanted Eichmann only did what hashem wanted. since if hashem did not wnat it to happen it would not of happened. Hitler was only doing hashms will.

40

 Sep 10, 2008 at 04:26 PM MARK Says:

FLUFFY............YITCHOK ISSAC WEISS ROSH BET IN MUNKANCH SVALUVER RUV HIS FATHER REB AVRUM WEISS HES BURIED WITH TALMIDIM OF BAL SHEM TOV IN TEVERYA

41

 Sep 10, 2008 at 04:45 PM Anonymous Says:

Mark,
Thanks for this first-hand information. You should be GeBentched for speaking out.

42

 Sep 10, 2008 at 04:47 PM Anonymous Says:

Some Rebbes are (and were) truly holy and dignified persons but that does not mean that all their decisions were in retrospect correct. They perhaps attempted to give their best decisions but the outcome was based upon a 'heavenly decree'.
The same or similar argument can be made today, regarding the situation in Israel.
Should the Israeli government give back some land for peace or not/
Ask a Lubavitcher and he would say "not an inch". Ask an Agudist and he would say "some, perhaps?". Ask a Satmare and he'll tell you to give all back to save one soul. But would that save a soul? Who knows; only hindsight is perfect vision. Just as today the 'Gedolim' cannot come to a firm conclusion (and I cannot blame them; it's a tough decision) so too in WW2 there was a difficult decision. To blame them all and call them selfish is senseless. I sincerely believe that all Rebbes meant it well but many obviously erred in judgment. They are only human. To assume that they always made the right decisions is incorrect.

43

 Sep 10, 2008 at 05:07 PM David Says:

The Satmar rebbe was not in a regular concentration camp, only in a distinct division of Bergen Belsen used by the Nazi’s to demonstrate to the Red Cross that they were treating their prisoners properly. The reason he did not have to cut his beard was mainly because he was in this special camp. The Satmer rebbe spent a considerable amount of money to be included on the Kasztner train. Most of the stories surrounding why and how the Satmar rebbe was included in this freedom train is hearsay and was invented by the Satmar Yiddish newspapers. Kasztner’s trail was overturned. There are many books that demonstrate that while Kasztner was no tzaddik he was not as awful as these revisionists made him out to be. Read Yehuda Bauer’s book, Jews for sale?: Nazi-Jewish negotiations and the new book by Anna Porter, Kasztner’s Train.

44

 Sep 10, 2008 at 05:06 PM sick of the political liars Says:

the rebbes did not encourage thrir hasidim to leave because at that time 1930s nobody believed there would be a war.also the gates of PALESTINE andUSA and the rest of the western world were closed.EVEN as late as the summer of 1939 the rebbes of GUR andLUBAVITCH did not believe that Hitler would be so crazy as to start a war.MOST poloticians also thougt that there woulb no wae. SO why queston the rebbes if they did not encourage their HAsidim to leave.BY the time they ralized their mistake it was too late THE rabbis of hungary never believed that hungary would suffer the fate of the rest of EUROPEAN JEWRY

45

 Sep 10, 2008 at 05:55 PM Ken Taylor Says:

To Mark
I appreciate you speaking out, however you have it all wrong on Rabbi Stephen Weiss. It is true that Weiss was behind the boycott, and the orthodox refused. That itself does not condemn the Rabbonim that opposed this method. The method of the Vaad was to meet with the hierarchy of the Roosevelt administration. Weiss who had great connections with the administration did everything in his power to thwart their efforts, making sure that they never meet. Again, Weiss was embarrassed of the "beards". All this is public record. It is also true that Weiss was in bed with the New York Times, making sure that the news of killings in Poland would not be reported. This is Stephen Weiss's own words on multiple Functions of Bnei Brit as reported by his very own son and documented in the Holocaust Museum for the whole world to see.

46

 Sep 10, 2008 at 06:05 PM Ken Taylor Says:

To those who remark that the boycott only made it worse, have absolutely no idea of how Hitler YM"S operated. The boycott was only an excuse to do what he always planned to do, and if it wasn't the boycott he would have found another excuse.
The Rabbonim have been consistent thruout history being against public demonstrations. They were against all demonstrations against Communist Russia and were aghast when Rabbi Meir Kehana ZT"L protested against the United Nations to free the Jews behind the iron curtain.
The only public demonstrations they are in favour of is public demonstrations against the State of Israel.
How ironic!
But going back to stephen weiss ...stephen weiss was no tzaddik and he should rot for ever.

47

 Sep 10, 2008 at 06:05 PM Baltimorean Says:

Joseph you are correct , Kastner was a menivel, maybe all these chachomim should Joel Brand's story and they would be better, the fact is the members of the Kibbutz Artzi did not want frum Yidden and other's did not have the sources which were available to Rebbes

48

 Sep 10, 2008 at 06:28 PM Rabbi Lebovic Says:

Kastner was only allowed by the Nazi's to put on his train 600 people. For the additional, he had to raise alot of money and must rely on frum jews in Swiss who put first condition to add Satmer Rov. So, Satmer Rov had hakoras toiv to the Swiss jews

49

 Sep 10, 2008 at 07:40 PM MARK Says:

KEN THANKS BUT IM STILL CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT I FOUND ABOUT RABBI WEISS GOING TO THE VAAD IN 1942 AND URGING HIM TO PROTEST WITH FORCE ITS DOCUMENTED IN YAD VASHEM

51

 Sep 10, 2008 at 08:14 PM David Says:

Rabbi Lebovic, your story does not hold water. Sure as the numbers on the train swelled they had to up the bribes, but it was Kasztner who made happen this train to freedom. These are all excuses after the fact, and a rewriting of history. At the minimum the Satmar rebbe owed some hakaros hatov.

52

 Sep 10, 2008 at 09:22 PM Anonymous Says:

Kaster took the satmar rebbe as a away of pacifiying chasidim.

Look at the facts.. after the war the satmar, gerer, belzer, lubavitch rebbe's rebuilt their chasidim..

Had the lubavitcher rebbe's been killed.. where would judaism be now?

Not everyone is zoche to die al kidush hashem.. rav yosef cairo begged hashem that he be zoche to die al kidush hashem.

The rambam paskens that he who can save himself but does not is like a dog eating his vomit.

Certain rebbeim took the calculation that its better to save themself's to be able to help she'eris hapleita.

I was a ben bayis at the home of rav raphael grosz in miami who survived bergen belsen and talked about how they saved the satmar rebbe.


53

 Sep 10, 2008 at 11:24 PM SamtheMan29BocaRaton Says:

Mark Mayer Appel: Take back your father's real family sur-name. Whats with this Appel? I take it your mother's maiden name was Weiss?
Other wise your comments were really eye-opening
Thank you sincerly they were remarkable. I knew your parents. Didn't they live on 48th St between 9th & 10th Ave in Boro Park.

54

 Sep 11, 2008 at 12:03 AM MARK Says:

SAM I LOVE YOU MY PARENTS WERE AWSOME IN AHAVAS YISROEL AND LOVED ISREAL.MY DAD LOST 5 YOUNG CHILDREN IN THE HOLOCOUST,HE OFTEN SAID TO BLAME THE ZIONISTS OR DR KASTNER IS A BLOOD LIBEL;TODAY IN ISREAL JUDISIM AND YIDDUSHKEIT FLOURISHING AS NEVER BEFORE AM YISROEA CHAI

55

 Sep 11, 2008 at 12:15 AM MARK Says:


RABBI STEVEN WEISSBULLETIN NO 1 BEGGED THE VAAD HAZOLA IN 1942 TO DEMONSTRATER IN WASHINGTON,THE VAAD HATZOLA RESPONDED WITH A VULGAR STATEMENT THAT WE RABBIS DO THINGS IN OUR WAY AND CALLED ON ALL WHO DEMONSTATE AGAINST THE NAZIS GRAVEDIGGERS OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE(YAD VASHEM 0(1941) "

ITS THE HOLY LAND THAT SAVED AND PROVIDED REFUGE FOR THR SOVIET JEWS,IRANIANIAN JEWS,ETHOPIAN JEWS.AND THE GOVT WILL BE THE FIRST TO PROTECT HERE IN GALUTH IF G-D FORBID THE NEEDS CALL FOR HELP AM YISOEAL CHAI

56

 Sep 11, 2008 at 01:21 AM Zalman Says:

Mark,

The Yad Vashem, do not forget, is a Zionist institution that will say whatever suits it to cover up the genocide contributed to by the Zionists during the Holocaust. (By Kastner ym's, Steve Weiss ym's, etc.)

57

 Sep 11, 2008 at 10:16 AM Anonymous Says:

Stephen Wise ym's was both a Reform leader and an American Zionist leader, even though officially Reform was opposed to Zionism.

58

 Sep 11, 2008 at 10:05 AM Anonymous Says:

1) Russian Jews are returning to Russia in droves.

2) Iranian Jews go to LA or NY, not E"Y

3) The Ethiopians are not Jews; they follow a cult of their own making that was sort of influenced by Jewish traders from Teiman. The Zionists imported them to show the validity of their state.

Weiss? Would that be Wise? He was not a Zionist - he was Reform who were at the time opposed to Zionism. Not all reshoim were Zionists, and not all Zionists were reshoim (most were tinokos shenishbeu).

59

 Sep 11, 2008 at 11:11 AM Anonymous Says:

Anonymous 09-11-2008 - 11:09 AM
You are right. One known example is that the Satmar Rabbi put on a shtreimel while others wouldn't dare to. So people followed this and other things all these Rabbis did. If not they would NEVER have done it. BH klal yisrael was saved!!!!!!

60

 Sep 11, 2008 at 11:09 AM Anonymous Says:

Baruch Hashem it was the Rabbis who were saved. If not for them, all of Klal Yisroel would be goyim. They wouldn't be able to stand up for their Yiddishkeit.

61

 Sep 11, 2008 at 01:53 PM Anonymous Says:

Grief drives people to say things that otherwise they wouldn't even think. While those left behind were devestated by the outcome, i would hope that they wouldn't want their freedom at the expense of another. Every person who got out was a brocha. Whether or not the Rebbeim made mistakes or not it is not our place to question their decisions. I was under the impression that Rebbeim make decisions based on their knowledge of Torah and a little Ruach Hakodesh, considering the average person is not blessed with all that knowledge or ruach hakodesh logically we cannot question a decision. Another thing is the Rebbeim only had their chassidims, in fact every jewish person's, interest at heart. The ranting going on here puts credence to the saying "No good deed goes unpunished."
Besides what people are not adding is that the chassidim wanted in fact begged their Rebbeim to leave. While, being two generations away from the holocaust, cannot even imagine the atrocities commited there, i can listen to the people, or family with experience. The memories they imparted to me were not of blame placing, you want to blame someone blame hitler yemach shemo. I was told stories of people helping each other, and while i know that some people were not as magnanomous i don't think holocaust survivors can blame them either, until you survive the same situation you cannot question it!
For those who perished and those who survived, we can only remember them for their good, and not for any perceived errors or bad done.
There is so much bad in the world, why do we need to focus on past evil, remember the past with a positive light and look to the futur with hope.

62

 Sep 12, 2008 at 12:50 AM Anonymous Says:

Whether a leader can morally leave his community in a time of danger and crises is debatable, especially in the situation of the Holocaust when the communities were ceasing to function.

However, this in no way can minimize the crime of the Belzer Rebbe promising to his chassidim in Hungary, who foolishly believed he had ruach hakodesh, that the Holocaust will not reach them.

It is claimed in many Jewish circles, that Kastner is partly responsible in the deaths of many Yidden for him having mislead the Hungarian yidden into believing that all will be fine, so it can be said about the Belzer Rebbe who has witnessed first hand what the Nazis were capable of.

It is well known that the Hungarian yidden that really believed that the nazis are there to kill them, had a much stronger probability of survival.

63

 Sep 13, 2008 at 09:34 AM Bloggela Says:

David, What are your sources re the Satmar Rebbe being in a special division while at Bergen-Belsen? I was always struck by the fact that every person on the Kasztner train survived, infants too, and I had come to the conclusion that they must have had special, better treatment. Indeed, that may also suggest that Teitelbaum took fewer risks than his Hasidim would like to believe, when he did not cut his beard. Still, if you have strong sources to confirm this, please share. Many thanks.

64

 Sep 14, 2008 at 12:51 PM Yochanan Says:

“I would rather have my fellow Jews die in Germany…”

Said on the eve of the Nazi genocide by “Reform Rabbi Stephen Wise, the undisputed leader of organized American Jewry”, and “probably the most influential and well-respected American Jew of his generation”, in reply to British prime minister Neville Chamberlain’s suggestion that Jewish refugees from Hitler might settle in Tanganyika.

Stephen Wise got his wish.

65

 Nov 02, 2009 at 10:58 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #44  
sick of the political liars Says:

the rebbes did not encourage thrir hasidim to leave because at that time 1930s nobody believed there would be a war.also the gates of PALESTINE andUSA and the rest of the western world were closed.EVEN as late as the summer of 1939 the rebbes of GUR andLUBAVITCH did not believe that Hitler would be so crazy as to start a war.MOST poloticians also thougt that there woulb no wae. SO why queston the rebbes if they did not encourage their HAsidim to leave.BY the time they ralized their mistake it was too late THE rabbis of hungary never believed that hungary would suffer the fate of the rest of EUROPEAN JEWRY

actually in 37' and 38' , the lubavitcher rebbe asked agudas chasidei chabad to start arranging for visas. for him to come to the us

66

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