3 Kislev 5778 21/11/2017

Rabbi Levi Yitzchok is Sent to Prison in Kiev

Rabbi Levi Yitzchok’s real suffering began with his arrest. Much to the concern of his wife, Rebbitzen Chana, his whereabouts became very hazy when he was sent to a jail in Kiev.

The following day, Rebbitzen Chana went to the local police headquarters. When she asked where Rabbi Levi Yitzchok was, she was simply told that he was not there. Rebbitzen Chana gave the police a medical certificate stating that for health reasons Rabbi Levi Yitzchok could only eat food prepared at home. However, she was informed that nothing could be done about this and that, “in prison your husband will receive whatever food he needs, in accordance with Jewish law.”

 

Rabbi Levi Yitzchok’s arrest warrant bore the name of a certain officer, whom Rebbitzen Chana would call at the NKVD offices every day to find out how her husband was. Each time, the officer always sent her Rabbi Levi Yitzchok’s regards. He told her that he was taking care of her husband and that he had even given him a prayer book.

 

Once every ten days Rabbi Levi Yitzchok was legally entitled to receive certain items, such as food and clothing. However, every time Rebbitzen Chana came to the NKVD headquarters to send him a parcel, she was told that her husband was not there.

 

Five months after his arrest, Rebbitzen Chana was finally informed that Rabbi Levi Yitzchok had never been imprisoned in the local NKVD headquarters. He had actually been sent to jail in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, on the day after his arrest.

 

In her memoirs Rebbitzen Chana relates that on one of her visits to the NKVD offices, she was sitting in a room situated near the kitchen and dining room when she noticed a Jew holding a portion of food. He seemed familiar and as she looked more closely, she suddenly remembered him. He had visited the Schneersons’ home on the previous Simchat Torah, where he had celebrated the festival along with the other assembled Jews.

 

“When this particular individual passed me, he lowered his gaze and hurried on as quickly as he could,” recalled Rebbitzen Chana.

 

After spending six months in the jail in Kiev, where he underwent a series of grueling interrogations, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok was sent back to jail in Dnieperpetrovsk in August 1939. Rebbitzen Chana found out that he was there when she received a letter saying that she was allowed to bring him food and money.

 

This was the first time that Rebbitzen Chana had been given any positive proof that her husband was still alive. After various difficulties she managed to send him a package. Rabbi Levi Yitzchok’s turn to collect it fell on Shabbat, but he still managed to receive it. A young Russian girl collected it on his behalf and brought it to him. If the package, which contained vital food items, had not been collected that day he would have had to wait another ten days before he could receive it.

Share |
Featured photo
The president of Kazakhstan presents the head shliach with a document signed by the government (in 2000) denouncing the persecution of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok.
The president of Kazakhstan presents the head shliach with a document signed by the government (in 2000) denouncing the persecution of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok.
31/07/2007
Featured gallery
A Gallery  of Notable Visitors to the Chabad Center in Almaty and the Tomb of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok
A Gallery of Notable Visitors to the Chabad Center in Almaty and the Tomb of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok
20/02/2007