New York City Council Renames Street in Honor of Rav Michoel Ber Weissmandl zt”l

14

rav-michoel-ber-weissmandlBrooklyn, NY – Yesterday the New York City Council passed legislation sponsored by Councilman David G. Greenfield to rename 50th Street between 14th and 15th Avenues in Borough Park, Brooklyn ‘Rabbi Weissmandl Way,’ in honor of the life and memory of the Rav Michoel Ber Weissmandl zt”l. The City will install permanent street signage along 50th Street commemorating the rov and his extraordinary life.

Rav Weissmandl was a heroic resistant fighter whose efforts saved thousands of Jews during World War II. He dedicated several years of his life to saving Slovakian Jews. Thanks to the creation of his “Europe Plan,” he convinced German and Slovakian authorities to delay the mass deportation of Jews for two years. He also appealed to foreign leaders worldwide for assistance and alerted them to the actions of the Nazis across Europe. As a result of his efforts to save Jewry, Rav Weissmandl was arrested dozens of times and was even sent to Auschwitz, but managed to jump from a moving train and escape to Switzerland shortly thereafter.

In addition to his efforts on the international stage to save countless Jews, Rav Weissmandl also left an indelible mark on communities through New York, especially Borough Park. Upon his arrival in the United States in 1946, Rav Weissmandl re-established the Nitra Yeshiva, first in New Jersey and then in Mount Kisco. In the time since, Nitra shuls have been established in many communities, including two in Borough Park and one in Williamsburg.

“Rabbi Weissmandl was a genuine hero, a great talmid chochom and leader for thousands of Jews throughout the world. Renaming a stretch of 50th Street between 14th and 15th Avenue, the location of a Nitra shul, is the least we can do in tribute to this great Rabbi to ensure his legacy and heroism lives on in our community for generations to come,” said Councilman Greenfield.

The New York City Council has the authority to rename street blocks in commemoration of New Yorkers who have made an enduring and lasting impact on large segments of the City’s population and whose importance to the City is a result of exemplary acts. No person is more befitting of this honor than Rav Weissmandl. A ceremony to unveil the new street name will be announced later this summer.

{Gavriel Sitrit-Matzav.com Newscenter}

14 COMMENTS

  1. Very silly indeed. Naming a street in NY does NOTHING for this great Tzaddik’s nishoma! Is this what we pay our “elected” “officials” to do??? Seems like they have to much time on their hands.

  2. Erev Shabbos Kodesh, Parshas Chukas
    Time: 8:08 PM Pacific Standard Time

    Of course, in this context of dedicating a block of a city street in honor of Rav Weissmandl, ZT’L, the public announcement about it should only mention the positive aspects of the story. At the same time though, people absolutely do need to know the full picture of the story, that, very unfortunately, there is a severely, severely tragic side of it.

    Rav Weissmandl was most certainly one of the very, very greatest heroes of the Holocaust. He stretched himself and others to the utmost to not only save countless thousands of people from death, but also to attempt to actually stop the Holocaust!

    The tragic part is though, that for these exemplary rescue plans and projects, he and his mini rescue organization, called the “Working Group,” received almost ZERO support from the vast realm of the Jewish people who were outside of the realm of Torah.

    It is a large complex subject that requires, B’Ezras Hashem, much elaboration.

  3. What about emulating his good deeds by working on our Ahavas Yisroel? Isn’t this what R’ M.B. Weissmandel did? He helped all Jews irrelevant of their actual status, if they had money or not, considered themselves more top notch than others, or if they had issues or not, were smart or not….
    R’ Weissmandel liked each and every Jew no matter what. And his mission was to help each and everyone without calculations. If we did the same we would be emulating his good deeds further, thus his neshomo would have an aliyah.

  4. (Continuation of my above Comment #3.)

    Very briefly, this is the story. Pragmatically realizing the great limitations of financial resources of the Torah world, the Working Group appealed to the major Jewish organizations. These mammoth well established institutions — who were virtually the official social-service-community-representative offices of the non-Torah Jewish world — had built up extensive reserves of well stocked resources, which included financial accounts of countless millions of dollars.

    Specifically, the Working Group appealed especially to the key organization of rescue and relief aid: the Joint Distribution Committee – the J.D.C., often called simply “The Joint.” [The JDC’s mission statement (at http://www.jdc.org/about-jdc/?s=global-topnav) explicitly states: “The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization . . . JDC works . . . to . . . rescue Jews in danger . . . and provide immediate relief . . . ” On their letterheads, they actually had printed their motto of the three “R’s”: “Rescue, Relief, Reconstitution.”]

    However, despite the Joint being THE rescue & relief center of the Jewish world, when Rav Weissmandl’s organization contacted it regarding financial backing for certain extremely significant rescue projects, the Joint FLATLY TURNED THEM DOWN!

    The JDC administrators claimed that the rescue methods being employed by Rav Weissmandl and his assistants — of bribing Nazi officials to stop death camp deportations — “violated” U.S. laws prohibiting trading with the enemy and sending funds into enemy territory. (It goes without saying that when the Rav sent his people to “pay off” Nazi officers, it obviously had nothing whatsoever to do with, Chas V’halom, doing any “business” with or in any way “helping” the evil Nazi enemy, Yimach Shemo V’Zichro! Instead, it was just a ploy to get the wicked enemy to hold back from blowing their heads off!)

  5. (Continuation of previous Comment #5.)

    Like the JDC, the other major non-Torah Jewish organizations that Rav Weissmandl’s group appealed to also refused to help. One of these Zionist institutions (it was either “HeHalutz” or the “Jewish Agency” itself) replied with this reason for the refusal.
          
    They stated that in the world war that was fiercely raging, the allied countries who were fighting Hitler were incurring horrifically tremendous losses and thus making terribly grave sacrifices.  So us Jewish People too had to make sacrifices!!  Therefore, we were really NOT ALLOWED to try to rescue any Jews from the Nazis; for if we were to save Jews from Nazi death, we would then be AVOIDING our obligation of giving sacrifices!! 

    Furthermore, as very bad as the war was, it was still understood that eventually the allied nations would prevail and win. Then, these victorious nations would sit down to apportion out various world portions. The Jewish People too will certainly be present at that conclave, expectedly hoping to be given their portion — their own new country of the State of Israel. Now, understandably, these rewards of world portions will be awarded out to the nations according to the amount of sacrifices that they made during the war.

    So if us Jews were to now (during the war) go and save our Jews from Nazi death and thus shirk from our obligation to make these sacrifices, at the future conclave of the apportioning of the world awards, we will have no place!! We will have no right to ask for an award!! We will have no hope to request a State of Israel country!!

    Yes, this was the essence of the reply that this key Zionist office replied to Rav Weissmandl: that his effort to save large numbers of Jews and avert much of the developing Holocaust was really a deeply grave sin; it was actually an unforgivable crime!! For he was trying to elude our responsibility of making sacrifices and was thus thwarting our chance of getting our State of Israel.

  6. (Continuation of previous Comment #7.)

    This article here very briefly states: “Thanks to the creation of his ‘Europe Plan,’ he convinced German and Slovakian authorities to delay the mass deportation of Jews for two years.” Actually, there were two parts to this episode. Soon after the horrific death deportations of Jews began from Slovakia, Rav Weissmandl’s group was able to make contact with the Nazi officials in charge of that section; for a hefty $50,000 bribe, Boruch Hashem, they were able to get them to stop the deportations. As though the major Jewish organizations would not give the Working Group any support, this $50,000 they had to scrape up from their own communities in that area of Slovakia and nearby Hungry.

    This halt in the deportations from Slovakia was clearly a brilliant success and a model for what should have been done elsewhere; it lasted for two years. (It very well might have lasted longer if not for the irresponsible actions of certain irresponsible people who started a revolt.)

    Then, on the basis of this success, the Working Group requested of those Nazi officials to “graduate” to the next level. The officials agreed to “graduate”; after intensive negotiations with them and higher officials, the Nazis finally agreed to the following “deal”: For a very hefty bribe of one million dollars, the Nazis would though, stop all further deportations from all of the Nazi occupied areas in Europe!

    It thus became known as the “Europa Plan”: that for one million dollars, the Nazis would agree to not kill the approximately one million Jews who were (at that time) still left in Europe.

    Of course, the amount of one million dollars was completely, completely far, far, far beyond the limited financial resources of Rav Weissmandl’s Working Group and the shattered or threatened-to-be-shattered Jewish communities in that area. So again and again, the group appealed to the big (non-Torah) Jewish organizations, and again and again, these (so-called) “Jewish” organizations refused them.

    In letter after letter after letter after letter, in the most heart wreanching words, Rav Weissmandl begged and pleaded the big organization officers — who were living safely and comfortably in the unaffected-by-war mansions and bastions of neutral Geneva, Switzerland — FOR MERCY!!! FOR RACHAMIM!!!

    “DON’T YOU REALIZE WhatwE ARE EVERY DAY LIVING IN???????”

  7. To continue in the same vein as #3 and #5, I would like to add a few facts. The Working Group struck a deal with the Germans that the Germans would stop most deportations from all over Europe to Poland – about 1 million Jews would have been affected by this – in exchange for $2,000,000 to be paid in installments. In today’s dollars it would be about $25 million. The Germans wanted a down payment of 10% – $200,000 then or about $2.5 million today. This was not a large price to pay for the lives of 1 million Jews. The Joint refused to believe that the Germans were sincere and did not give the Working Group the urgently needed $2 million.
    The Working Group suggested a smaller deal with the Germans to demonstrate their willingness to negotiate. they agreed on $200,000 – again, about $2.5 million today – for the release of 1,000 Jewish children in Auschwitz. The Germans kept their word and transferred the children from Auschwitz to Theresienstadt, from where the Germans would transport them to Switzerland upon receiving the $200,000. The Joint again refused and the children were sent back to Auschwitz and murdered. As Andre Steiner, a member of the Working Group said in a later interview, “$200,000 was not a very big sum of money. This was a risk that the Joint should have taken. The Joint is guilty for not preventing the murder of many Jews.”
    Because of the obstinacy of the Joint Distribution Committee and other Jewish organizations, many lives were lost.

    To see more information on the rescue efforts of R’ Weissmandl and the Working Group, see the following:

    “The Unheeded Cry”, by Dr. Abraham Fuchs

    “Thy Brother’s Blood”, by Dr. Gershon Kranzler

    “Min Hameitzar”, by R’ Michoel Ber Weissmandl (Hebrew)

  8. (Continuation of previous Comment)

    Finally, at one point, the JDC representative who usually replied to them, a Mr. Saley Meyer, informed the group that he could do this: He could put out for them one hundred thousand dollars; it would be placed in an American bank IN A BLOCKED ACCOUNT that could only be accessed AFTER the war (would be over).

    Again though, this was THE MOST that he could do for them.

    In the annals of human existence, I highly doubt that there was ever such a cruel mean mockery of a most severely serious issue as this.

    Obviously, first of all, one hundred thousand dollars was barely ONE TENTH — a pretty small fraction — of what was needed; ONE MILLION DOLLARS was what the wicked Nazis demanded.

    Then, even that miniscule amount of $$$$ would be “in a blocked account until after the war.”

    THEY NEEDED THE MONEY RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    THEY NEEDED THE MONEY RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    RIGHT NOW, every day that these UN-Jewish/UN-human organizations were stalling with their lies and excuses, COUNTLESS THOUSANDS of Jews — AND non-Jews — were being tightly jammed into railway cattle cars and shipped off to the extermination centers to be sadistically MAIMED and TORTURED and KILLED!!!!!!!!

    The historical and encyclopedia enteries about Rabbi Michal Dov Weissmandl state that he was the architect of the “Europa Plan.”

    WHAT WAS THE “EUROPA PLAN”????????

    IT WAS A PLAN THAT COULD HAVE VERY WELL ACTUALLY STOPPED A GIGANTIC PART OF THE HOLOCAUST!!!!!!!!

    But, very tragically — of course, no words can properly describe this calamity — that is all that it ever was; that is all that it ever remained: “A PLAN.”

  9. To Comment #8. From “Cheder Yingel”:

    Thank you very much for filling in several details of the story that I had not discussed. Thank you also very much for correcting one of the key facts of the story that in Comment #7 I had made an error on. I had INCORRECTLY said that in the Europa Plan, the Nazis wanted a bribe of ONE million dollars; as you correctly related though, the actual fact was that the Nazis demanded a bribe of TWO million dollars.

    So in Comment #9, there are numbers there that also need to be corrected.

  10. (Spelling and numbers corrections of Comment #9.)

    (Continuation of previous Comment #7.)

    Finally, at one point, the JDC representative who usually replied to them, a Mr. Saly Mayer, informed Rav Weissmandl’s group that he could do this: He could put out for them one hundred thousand dollars; it would be placed in an American bank IN A BLOCKED ACCOUNT that could only be accessed AFTER the war (would be over).

    Again though, this was THE MOST that he could do for them.

    In the annals of human existence, I highly doubt that there was ever such a cruel mean mockery of a most severely serious issue as this.

    Obviously, first of all, one hundred thousand dollars was barely ONE TWENTIETH — quite a tiny fraction — of what was needed; TWO MILLION DOLLARS was what the wicked Nazis demanded.

    Then, even that miniscule amount of $$$$ would be “in a blocked account until after the war.”

    THEY NEEDED THE MONEY RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    THEY NEEDED THE MONEY RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    RIGHT NOW, every day that these UN-Jewish/UN-human organizations were stalling with their lies and excuses, COUNTLESS THOUSANDS of Jews — AND non-Jews — were being tightly jammed into railway cattle cars and shipped off to the extermination centers to be sadistically MAIMED and TORTURED and KILLED!!!!!!!!

    The historical and encyclopedia enteries about Rabbi Michal Dov Weissmandl state that he was the architect of the “Europa Plan.”

    WHAT WAS THE “EUROPA PLAN”????????

    IT WAS A PLAN THAT COULD HAVE VERY WELL ACTUALLY STOPPED A GIGANTIC PART OF THE HOLOCAUST!!!!!!!!

    But, very tragically — of course, no words can properly describe this calamity — that is all that it ever was; that is all that it ever remained: “A PLAN.”

  11. To #11 – Let Us Look At The Facts:

    You were possible right about the 1 million.It is unclear how much the bribe was to be.Most historians dealing with the subject say that it was 1-2 million. Tuvia Friling in his book “Arrows in the Dark” puts the figure at 3 million.
    I wrote 2 million so as not to complicate the point I was trying to get across.

  12. To “Let Us Look At The Facts”:

    I don’t mean to minimize the fact that the Joint was largely uncooperative, but as I wrote in comment #8, the Europa Plan would have gone through with a down payment of only 10%. Therefore, the Joint was offering half, if not all, of the down payment. Nevertheless, it would not have helped the Working Group either way, because of the Joint’s insistence on putting it in a blocked account.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here