3 Kislev 5778 21/11/2017

Rebbitzen Chana’s Account of the End of Exile

Rebbitzen Chana’s diaries are a vivid memoir of the years of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok’s exile. Here, she describes the end of this period and the despair and frustration that Rabbi Levi Yitzchok suffered, as his health continued to suffer.

In her memoirs Rebbitzen Chana recalls:

“As the release date, upon which we had pinned all our hopes, drew closer we began to hear some very worrying rumors. Apparently none of the exiled prisoners would be released until after the war, and even then they would only be allowed to live in sparsely populated villages.

“My husband’s patience, which had sustained him for the past five years, now began to run out. His indomitable spirit began to break, just when he needed it most. Much later it became apparent that the malignant disease that eventually claimed his life had already set in, and this may have also caused his depression.

“Food, such as a simple crust of bread, was still hard to find. We would manage somehow during the week, but our greatest problem was finding two loaves and candles for Shabbat. We had to stand for hours in line just to receive a loaf of “poor bread,” as they called it, and a candle.”

One Thursday, Rebbitzen Chana received a note saying that a parcel had arrived at the post office. It was from a Jewish soldier who was a friend of the family. He had sent it to Rebbitzen Chana rather than her husband because it was an offense for a soldier to be in touch with a “traitor.”

Apart from improving their situation, the parcel greatly raised their morale. It contained various valuable goods, including white flour, which they had not seen for years, sugar, soap, and items of clothing. At this point, Soviet soldiers were only allowed to send or receive packages from their parents. To circumvent this restriction, the soldier had pretended that Rebbitzen Chana was his mother-in-law. If the truth had ever been discovered he would have been in serious trouble.

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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