Yizkereim Events Draw Crowds


yizkereimCommemoration and optimism resonated at the New York debut of “Shanghai Miracle,” in Brooklyn at Agudas Yisrael Bais Binyomin and in the Five Towns, in Lawrence, at Congregation Shaaray Tefilah. The documentary film highlighted strength, spiritual survival and rebirth, instead of focusing solely on the loss and destruction.

“Shanghai Miracle” is the first of a series of inspiring Holocaust films with stories of spiritual resistance that culminated in the post-churban renaissance of Torah communities around the globe.”Yizkereim: Remember Them” is the rallying call for this initiative, sponsored by Torah Umesorah’s Zechor Yemos Olam and the Rabbi Leib Geliebter Memorial Foundation.

“With so few Holocaust survivors remaining to tell their stories,” said Dr. Joseph Geliebter, executive producer of the series and director of the Foundation, “it is critical that we hear their voices now and vividly connect with their individual experiences. We are the last generation to hear the memories of the last of the Holocaust survivors; we must accept and transmit their legacy to future generations.”

Dr. Geliebter quoted Rav Yaakov Emden’s introduction to his siddur, Bais Yakov, in which Rav Emden pronounces, in his opinion, that the modern day survival of the Jewish people is even more miraculous than the their exodus from Mitzrayim and years in the desert.

Dr. Geliebter applied this concept to understanding “Shanghai Miracle,” which chronicles the wartime experiences of students from numerous yeshivos, including Mir, Chachmei Lublin, Telshe, Lubavitch and Kaminetz. Documentary footage is interspersed with interviews featuring survivors who recall the long trek by train and boat, the Torah study that sustained them and the many leaders who emerged and ultimately established yeshivos in major U.S. cities.

Rav Moshe Tuvia Lieff, mara d’asra of Agudas Yisroel Bais Binyomin, opened the evening by welcoming Rav Dovid Nojowitz, menahel of Torah Umesorah, and Mr. Benzion Fishoff, noted askan, talmid of Yeshivas Chochmei Lublin, and one of the 300 talmidim of Mir who were the focus of the Shanghai Miracle. Unbeknownst to Mr. Fishoff, sitting in the front row of the audience was Reb Shlomo Chaim Nathan, a Baghdanian Sephardi who had been born in Shanghai and was there to welcome the boatload of Mir talmidim.

Mr. Fishoff eloquently told of his personal experiences and revealed a little known episode. He and 75 others who did not have the appropriate visas to enter Japan were turned away at the border and returned to Russia. Terrified of being sent to Siberia as enemies of the state, they claimed “to love Russia” and asked to remain. They were abruptly issued visas and exiled to Japan.

In Lawrence, the program was introduced by Dr. Joseph Geliebter and concluded with remarks by Holocaust survivor, lecturer and author Dr. Moshe Katz, who reminded the group that when it comes to anti-Semitism, history repeats itself. He illustrated this concept through numerous modern-day examples and closed by urging all to “place our trust in G-d Who will help us overcome our enemies.”

Nechama Lewin of Woodmere, whose husband was born in the Shanghai Ghetto, said that “it’s important to understand how many people were saved through the escape to Shanghai. When you consider the one man (Mr. Fishoff) who left Europe as a teenager and now has 26 grandchildren, clearly it wasn’t just one life saved. It was a whole generation. The film also powerfully relates the sacrifices that were made by non-Jews who literally risked their lives and jobs to save thousands of Jews. They had nothing to gain and everything to lose and yet they chose to help.”

“The film was an eye-opener,” said Rebbetzin Batya Goodman of Far Rockaway. “I always knew of the Mirrer Yeshiva’s escape to Shanghai, but I didn’t realize how difficult it was for them to actually reach that destination and how hard the conditions were once they got there.”

The inaugural series of Sefirah programs launched the Yizkereim initiative and was the first of an annual hazkarah program for the kedoshim

Sefirah was chosen specifically because it is a time of communal mourning commemorating the many different tragedies that took place to Klal Yisroel during this period,” said Dr. Geliebter.

The Yizkereim film series will be presented in shuls worldwide during Sefirah and the Three Weeks.

For more information, contact info@yizkereim.com.

{Dovid Bernstein-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. There were actually 350 Talmidim in the Mir. Of those 350, only about 20 remain. Rabbi Fishoff didnt come to Shanghai with the Mir from Europe and is much younger than the Alter Mirrer, however did spend his years in Shanghai during the war and got to know many of the Mirrer talmidim

  2. the following are most if not all the Mir Talmidim that learned in Mir Europe and then escaped with the Yeshiva and learned in Shanghai:

    1. R Shimon Gitelis
    2. R Gershon Yankelewitz
    3. R Leib Baron
    4. R Feivel Hollander
    5. R Motty Rothenberg
    6. R Yakov Magid
    7. R Ahron Florans
    8. R Yankel Finkelstein
    9. R Avrohom Resnick
    10. R Pinchos Podrabinek
    11. R Yiddel Dickstein
    12. R Moishe Zupnick
    13. R Dov Klohr
    14. R Moshe Zabari
    15. R Moshe Pivovoz
    16. R Yitzchok Rabin

  3. Interesting: Please post!! Note that my list includes Mir AND Shanhghai The following learnt in Mir with NO Shanghai:
    R Chaim Scheinberg
    R Shamshon Brodsky
    R Orlansky
    R Fabian
    R Mottel Rabinowitz
    The following learnt in Shanghai with NO Mir:
    R Gulevsky
    R Simcha Nadborny
    R Avrohom Kanarek

  4. you are missing many important names including my Father Harav Yeshaya Shimanowitz ZTzl (Mechaber Sefer Amudei Shayish Al HaShas – 3 Vol.) and my two Uncles – Harav Yeshaya David Briskman,ZTzl, and Harav Pinchos Bryskman ZTzl.

    What about R Leib Malin,ZTzl, R Shmuel Berenbaum,ZTzl, R Michel Barenbaum,ZTzl, R Shimon V’Soker,ZTzl. and many more.