The United Jewish Organization of Williamsburg – the umbrella organization of the 70,000-strong Jewish community in Williamsburg which is overwhelmingly comprised of holocaust survivors and their descendants – commends the NYS legislature’s marking the upcoming International Holocaust Remembrance Day with a resolution honoring the memory of late Rabbi Michoel Ber Weissmandl. The resolution honors Rabbi Weissmandl specifically for his efforts “to save the European Jewish populace during World War II.” The resolution sponsors will also bestow a medal of honor for Rabbi Weissmandl.
“”Rabbi Weissmandl’s efforts, at the constant risk of his own life, negotiating with Adolph Eichmann’s people for a ransom, halted the deportations of the Slovkian Jewry. He also played a lead role in saving thousands of lives in Hungary,” said Rabbi David Niederman, Executive Director of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg. “I can’t think of a more fitting way to mark the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, than commemorating this unsung hero. I commend the New York State Legislature for honoring his memory, and I specifically want to thank State Senator Simcha Felder and Assemblyman Joe Lentol for introducing the resolution.”
Rabbi Weissmandl also worked tirelessly to publicize the “Auschwitz Protocols”, awakening the international community to the Nazi’s atrocities and genocide. Ultimately, this ended the deportations in Hungary, saving tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews, much of whom rebuilt their lives in New York State, mostly in Brooklyn.
“I am very humbled and honored to have launched this effort,” said Ari Fixler the brainchild behind of the recently established Weissmandl Committee. “This is the first step in a wide-ranging effort to ensure that Rabbi Weissmandl is appropriately honored with government recognition, and also included in Holocaust educational discourse.”
Rabbi Weissmandl was also a central figure in the rebuilding of the Jewish community in New York. He was the first to replant a European Yeshiva, the Yeshiva of Nitra. Always a visionary, Rabbi Weissmandl established a “shtetel” in Westchester, NY, where the survivors studied Torah, and it also provided them with jobs and opportunities to rebuild their lives.
The Nitra Yeshiva also planted the seeds and paved the way for numerous other Yeshivos that were later established in New York. Today, Nitra boasts a Yeshiva and community in Mount Kisco, New York, as well as a sprawling Yeshiva campus in Chester, NY, as well as several synagogues and an education network in Brooklyn, Upstate New York, and Worldwide. During the years, thousands graduated the Nitra Yeshivos, and numerous of its alumni went on to take prominent rabbinic positions, while others succeeded in business and in other areas.
“Rabbi Weissmandl’s rescue and rebuilding efforts left lasting results on our community and the Jewish community at large,” said Rabbi Niederman.
(YWN Desk – NYC)