Group of nine documents and letters belonging to Yeshiva of Telz student Theodor (Tovia) Lasdun.

AUCTION 80 | Thursday, March 28th, 2019 at 1:00 PM
The Valmadonna Trust Library: Further Selections from the Historic Collection. * Hebrew Printing in America. * Graphic & Ceremonial Art

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Lot 110

Group of nine documents and letters belonging to Yeshiva of Telz student Theodor (Tovia) Lasdun.

Includes Far Eastern visa and travel documents, as well correspondence with the Red Cross seeking to discover the safety of his parents. Includes a variant of a <<Sugihara-issued document >> Texts in Hebrew, Lithuanian, Dutch, English, German and Japanese.

Kaunas (Lithuania) - Tokyo (Japan) - Shanghai (China) - Westerbork (Holland): 1939-45

Est: $5,000 - $7,000
<<Narrative of Wartime Endurance Told Through Various Legal Forms and Letters.>> German-born Tuvia Lasdun was a devoted student of the famed Telshe Yeshiva located in Telsiai, Lithuania - one of the principles of which, Rabbi Eliyohu Meir Bloch, was Lasdun’s uncle. This group of documents tells a rare story, one of the few Lithuanian Yeshiva students who managed to survive the Nazi onslaught of terror and murder, and with dwindling options, discover an escape-route, via the Trans-Siberian Railroad to the Far East. <<Papers include:>> <<*>> 1. Document issued by the American Consulate of Kaunas, dated November 25, 1939. Notifies Lasdun that he has been placed on a waiting list to receive a visa to America. Lasdun’s town of residence is listed as Telsiai, Lithuania. The waiting period was estimated to be at least six months. <<*>> 2. Typed Letter from the Red Cross, dated May 17, 1940: “We confirm receipt of your letter from December 10. To our regret, we are currently unable to do any research in Holland, as the mail connections have been terminated. However, once we are able to receive a message from your parents, we will not fail to do so. Should one arrive here, we will deliver it to you immediately…” The letter itself is covered in Lasdun’s personal notes written in Hebrew. Short on paper, Lasdun used this letter to transcribe a section of the Talmud (Trac. Chullin, f. 98) with accompanying portions of Tosafoth’s commentary. - <<Even at this intense time of stress, along with the worrying lack of news from his parents in faraway Holland, this Telz Yeshiva student remained devoted to his Torah learning.>> <<*>> 3. ‘Sugihara Visa.’ Japanese stamped (but unsigned) Polish document granting the bearer safe passage through Japan and on toward overseas Dutch territories. A photograph of a young man is attached, but all entries requesting personal details remain blank. It is unclear whether this is an outright forgery of one of the famed Sugihara visas, or, knowing that Sugihara himself permitted blank visas to contain his official stamp, this is a variant of some sort. <<*>> 4. Permit for Stay in Japan: Granted on 16/4/15 according to the Japanese Showa calendar, corresponding to mid-1940. <<*>> 5. Four Letters to Lasdun in Shanghai, sent via the Red Cross, by a Lasdun relative in Enschede, Holland. <<*>> 6. Letter sent via the Red Cross by Lasdun to relatives in Westerbork, August 1944. Seeking news regarding the whereabouts of parents and grandparents. Ends with the hope that the family be soon reunited. Verso with response from Westerbork Military Intelligence Bureau, dated July 1945: “Message to be returned to inquirer… Lasdun, Charles, 7-6-20, Rotterdam with Fanny, Josef, Sophia, Sulamit on November 11, 1942 deported to the East (Auschwitz).” - That is, receipt of the tragic news that Tuvia Lasdun’s family were sent to Auschwitz, and were thus likely dead, going on three years. At the close of the Pacific Theater of the war, Theodor (Tovia) Lasdun made his way from China to the United States and gravitated to the reborn Telshe Yeshiva, now relocated to Cleveland, Ohio. Later Lasdun settled in Washington Heights, NY, where he played significant roles in both the YU and KAJ communities. These documents serve as testimony to just one of the Shanghai Jews, and tells an alternate riveting tale of commitment and anguish, death and survival.