Auction No. 113

Famous personalities, Art, Seforim, Letters from Rabbis and Rebbes

Apr 8, 2019

Auction No. 113

Opening $500
Estimate $1,000 - $1,500

Invitation by the Admor of Gur author of Imrei Emet to a conference of rabbis regarding the Holocaust, Jerusalem, [1943]

Background: At the beginning of World War II, true news about the annihilation machine in Europe did not reach the Land of Israel and America. It was only at the end summer of 1942 that the increasingly horrifying news from Europe reached them. Eyewitnesses recalling the details of the suffering supported the conjecture that the European Jewry was facing total destruction as well as the fact that the Nazis had an orderly diabolical plan to annihilate the Jewish nation and that it was being carried out daily. These reports reached various Jewish-American organizations by different ways and sources and they started being published in Jewish press. Due to the increase in the news, the nation was shocked from one end to the other and great fear for its persecuted brethren filled all their hearts. Subsequently, the leading rabbis of the generation, together with the various Jewish organizations, called for lamentation and prayers.

Already at the beginning of the winter of 1943, all the Jewish parties – from the Jewish Agency to Agudat Yisrael – met to discuss how to promote a day of worldwide outcry. At the meeting it was decided there was need for a worldwide day of fast. In New York, a committee of about six rabbis was chosen and in Jerusalem, a committee of fifty rabbis, members of the executive committee, was chosen to organize public prayers; the executive committee also decided to organize meetings with representatives of various countries and representatives of the Pope and the need to form a united front of the Jews of the land of Israel for rescue activities.

On the 13th of Kislev, the Agency made, for the first time, an official announcement about the systematic destruction of the Jews in Europe. In the HaAretz newspaper from the 14th of Kislev 1942, the publisher of the newspaper wrote: "The accredited news from the Nazi hell, which was published yesterday by the Jewish Agency, confirmed the worst fears. The threats of the German murderers, which Hitler and his assistants had made time and again, are becoming a shocking reality …"

The cooperation between the Chief Rabbinate and "Agudat Yisrael" was so tight that the crucial meeting took place on the 13th of Kislev 1942. In this meeting, the decision of the executive committee was to ask Rabbi Dushinsky and Rabbi Herzog to announce three days of mourning and prayer from the 20th to the 23rd of Kislev, and after them, a day of fasting with all the strictures of Yom Kippur. This meeting was highlighted in the press. A headline that appeared for two weeks on the first page of 'Kol Yisrael' proclaimed: "The National Conference of Agudat Yisrael Due To The Horrors And Persecution Of Our Brothers In Europe." Every day, the newspaper published the activities and speeches at the conferences in Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem.

In the end, a national day of fasting was decided upon and all rabbis of the Land of Israel were invited to gather at the Churvah synagogue in Jerusalem. However, although all circles of the religious and Charedi communities in the Land of Israel and abroad took part, the leadership of Agudat Yisrael in Israel failed to bridge the rivalry between the old and new settlements and Rabbi Dushinsky decided that the day of fast would be on another day – Monday, the 21st of Kislev – with the reason known to his confidants and related to this item.

The members of Agudat Yisrael headed by Rabbi Dushinsky did not agree to the Chief Rabbinate inviting the rabbis to the day of fast in Jerusalem. Only after tiring negotiations did they agree to it that the Rebbe of Gur, being admired by both parties, will be the one who invites the rabbis. However, eventually, after some deceit, rabbis were invited also on behalf of Rabbi Herzog. When this became known to Rabbi Dushinsky, he decided on another day of fast and the whole city was in turmoil.

This item is living testimony to the background of the scandal that took place in the city in the midst of the cursed war.

Before us is an invitation on behalf of the Admor of Gur, an invitation on behalf of the Chief Rabbinate and the envelope in which both invitations were sent.

Very fine condition. Fold marks.

Holocaust & Anti-Semitism