AUCTION 69 | Thursday, June 23rd, 2016 at 1:00
Fine Judaica: Printed Books, Manuscripts, Holy Land Maps and Ceremonial Objects

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Lot 234


Archive of correspondence primarily between Samuel Kramer, Esq. and Rabbi Shemaryahu (Samarius) Gourary - as well as other prominent Jewish public figures - in regard to rescuing Rabbis and students of Lubavitch’s Yeshivath Tomchei Temimim from war-torn Europe and seeking their safe passage to America. c. 80 papers.

August 19th, 1940 - July 30th, 1941

Est: $5,000 - $7,000
Correspondence, memos of meetings and related documents concerning desperate efforts to save leading Rabbis and students of the Lubavitch movement trapped in war-time Riga and Vilna. After a hair-raising escape from Europe, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, R. Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson, arrived in the United States on the 19th March 1940. His son-in-law, Rabbi Shemaryahu Gourary was one of the ten members of the Schneerson entourage that accompanied him (his other son-in-law and eventual successor, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson was still in France). Immediately upon arrival in New York, the Rebbe actively sought to find ways to rescue his followers from Nazi-occupied Europe. The majority of papers here are letters between Rabbi Gourary and Samuel Kramer, chief legal counsel of Agudas Chasidei Chabad in America. Working alongside politicians and diplomats, including U.S. Senators Phillip Kleinfeld and Robert Wagner and Representative Sol Bloom, they attempted to the rescue the Lubavitch Yeshiva student body and administrative rabbinic leadership. In August, 1940 (and again in March, 1941) Kramer and Gourary met with Breckingridge Long, the State Department official in charge of matters concerning European refugees, as well as with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Seeking to lobby for the acceptance of their Special List of 52 students and 47 Rabbis from Lithuania and Poland to New York, from the papers here it appears that 38 of that number successfully found temporary refuge in Japan, from where forward visas to America were sought. Included in this archive is a list entitled: “Jewish Leaders and Rabbis in Latvia and Lithuania For Whom Arrival in the U.S.A. is a Vital Necessity.” Also present is correspondence with Breckingridge Long, Patrick Murphy Malin (member of the Inter-Governmental Committee for Refugees based in London) and a congratulatory telegram to President Franklin D. Roosevelt upon his re-election in 1940 from the leadership of Agudas Chasidei Chabad. Extended lot description, along with the list of names, available upon request.