Sunday, 19th April 1950 The Day-Morning Journal page 6
From the series: “Hasidic Rebbes Who Were Killed by the Nazis”
Translation © 2010 by Gloria Berkenstat Freund
Radomsker Rebbe Who Perished in Jewish Martyrdom in the Warsaw Ghetto
His proud answer to the Nazi torturers. – Also his brother-in-law, Moishele Kraszner, who perished in Jewish martyrdom
Among the [large number] of Jewish victims who perished in Jewish martyrdom in the Warsaw Ghetto is found the Radomsker Rebbe Reb Shlomoh Henokh Hakohan Rabinowicz, who was killed along with his wife, his only daughter and his son-in-law, Reb Dovid Moishe Rabinowicz.
As it is told, the Radomsker Rebbe died as a martyr and a hero.
Nazi Gestapo-agents rushed into his dwelling in the Warsaw Ghetto and ordered him to go with them. Every Jew in the ghetto knew that whoever the Nazis took with them would no longer live to see the light shining on the world. They dragged their victims to a death camp, where gas wagons were ready and the Jews were sent there. The Radomsker Rebbe refused to follow the order of the Nazi agents and he worthily answered:
“I know that you have come to kill me. I am ready to die here in my room and not somewhere in a gas-wagon!...”And when the Rebbe ended the “ekhod” of the “Shema Yisroel” [last word of the prayer said every day on the oneness of God] that he was saying, a Nazi bullet punctured his brain and his family was killed together with him on the spot: his wife, his daughter and son-in-law.
With the death of the Radomsker Rebbe, an entire rabbinic dynasty perished. The Nazi bullet that punctured the brain of the Radomsker Rebbe extinguished the light of the last male of the great rabbinic stock, which stretches from the first Radomsker Rebbe, Reb Shlomoh Radomsker, famous in the Hasidic world under the name of the Hasidic sefer (book) that he wrote: “Tiferes Shlomoh.”
The last Radomsker Rebbe had thousands and thousands of Hasidic followers in Poland and in Galicia. It can be said the he was the only Rebbe in Poland of whom it can be said that many Hasidim traveled to him from Galicia. Before the recent World War there were more Radomsker shtiblekh (small prayer houses) than Gerer in Krakow.
The young Radomsker Hasidim were very visible because the Radomsker Rebbe founded yeshivus (religious schools) in a whole line of cities, in which around two thousand young men studied.
The Radomsker yeshivus were in the cities of Radomsk, Bendin, Sosnowice, Krakow, Lodz, Piotrokow, Chraznow and in a whole line of other cities.
The Radomsker Rebbe was an unusual rebbe. He was both a rebbe and a businessman. He was not an ordinary businessman, but a millionaire, who was counted among the Jewish millionaires in Poland and among the rabbis he certainly was the greatest millionaire.
Alas in the last fifty years, it was not news that rabbis would manage businesses in Poland. There were other rebbes who were partners in large business undertakings. However, officially, a Hasid wanted a rebbe as a partner in his business in order to be sure that with the rebbe’s blessing, the business would prosper.
The Radomsker Rebbe was not just a partner to other businessmen, but he himself headed large businesses. He owned a large number of houses in Poland, and from 1933, before Hitler came to power, he also owned many houses in Berlin and in Leipzig. And at the same time, the Radomsker Rebbe also sat day and night learning Torah and doing service for God. He devoted himself to the yeshivus he had built in various cities in Poland and Galicia and the businesses were run by his devoted Hasidim.
On every beautiful Shabbos and yom-tov (religious holiday) thousands of Hasidim from every city in Poland and Galicia would come to Sosnowice, where the Rebbe lived before the Second World War. The Rebbe would head the office of Hasidic Rebbe as in the old Radomsker manner, reciting Torah, singing
Shabbos songs, sharing his leftovers [which the Hasidim would eat as a matter of honor] and serving food.
How did his Hasidim react to such things?
The Rebbe gave away half of his fortune for the upkeep of the yeshivus in the various cities, and as he was himself a businessman, he did not have to ask the Hasidim for money. This gave him the opportunity to be independent and to have the opportunity to serve God undisturbed.
The Rebbe truly spent a great deal of money for his private library. After the Gerer Rebbe, the Radomsker Rebbe had the largest private library in Poland. Each year the Radomsker Rebbe would spend thousands to buy old writing and old prints.
The last Radomsker Rebbe, who was murdered by the Nazis, was the fourth generation from the founder of the Radomsker Dynasty, Reb Shlomoh’le Radomsker.
The Rebbe Reb Shlomoh Radomsker was a student of the Rebbes: Reb Meir Apter, Reb Ber Radoszicer and Reb Yekhezkeil Kozmir.
In his youth, Reb Shlomoh Radomsker was a businessman. Then he was Rabbi in Radomsk and then a rebbe.
The Rebbe Shlomoh Radomsker immediately earned the name of a great tzadek (righteous man). Hundreds of Hasidim traveled to be with him and many rebbes sat at his table. Hasidim tell that when the Rebbe Reb Moishe Lelewer - Reb Dovid’l Lelewer’s son – emigrated to Eretz-Yisroel, he first went to take leave of Reb Shlomoh Radomsker. At the leave-taking, the Rebbe Reb Moishe Lelewer asked Rebbe Shlomoh Radomsker to bless him. At the departure, it is told, the Lelewer Hasidim asked:
– “Rebbe, with whom are you leaving us?”
– “With Rebbe Reb Shlomoh Radomsker,” Reb Moishe Lelewer answered.
The Rebbe Reb Shlomoh Radomsker was also a great singer. He had a beautiful singing voice. He prayed in front of the lectern every Shabbos and every yom-tov.
And suddenly when the Radomsker was already well-known in all of Poland as a great rebbe, he decided to travel to another rebbe, as an ordinary Hasid. He chose for his rebbe, Reb Haim Halbersztat of Sanz.
The entire Hasidic world was then in an uproar. It was not a small thing, a rebbe of hundreds and hundreds of Hasidim leaves his seat and himself becomes a Hasid. And then the Radomsker Rebbe chose to go to Sanz on Shavous, on a yom-tov when many Hasidim come to him.
And Hasidim tell that before the Radomsker Rebbe traveled to Sanz, his son Reb Avrahame’le, his later successor, asked:
– “Tata (father), how can you leave so many Hasidim on such a holy yom-tov, Shavous? How can you cause grieving among so many God-fearing and sincere men?”
– “My child,” the Rebbe Reb Shlomoh answered, “I’m getting old, and I want to again feel the taste of receiving Torah that Jews felt when they stood at Mount Sinai and this I can only feel when I am with the holy Sanzer Rebbe.
And his son, Reb Avrahame’le no longer asked. Hundreds of Hasidim came to Radomsk on that Shavous, they prayed in the Radomsker Synagogue; however, without their rebbe. Rebbe Reb Shlomoh went to Sanz.
The Radomsker Rebbe died on a Thursday at night in 5626 (1866) after midnight prayers in commemoration of the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. Hasidim tell that the Gerer Rebbe (the Chiddushei HaRim) died a week earlier. The Radomsker Rebbe asked his Hasidim about the Gerer Rebbe’s funeral.
At night on the same Thursday, two rebbes, the Rebbe Reb Tzamekh of Chrolowice and the Rebbe Reb Ahron of Krakow, the son of “Meir Shamas,” arrived in Radomsk. After saying “Sholem Alecheim” [greeting each other], the Radomsker Rebbe spent two hours with them discussing the death of the Gerer Rebbe and he said, “Who will welcome this Shabbos at the lectern now in Gan-Eyden [Garden of Eden or paradise]?”
And the Radomsker Hasidim really believe that the old Radomsker Rebbe is the one who welcomes Shabbos at the lectern in Gan-Eyden right up to the present day.
His son, the Rebbe Reb Avraham’ele, who became rebbe after the death of Reb Shlomoh Radomsker, also had many Hasidim in Poland and in Galicia. He left Khesed L’Avraham, a book about Torah. He also wrote a book about Torah, Knesset Yehezkeil. His son was the last Radomsker Rebbe Reb Shlomoh Henokh, who built many yeshivus in various cities in Poland and in Galicia.
When the recent war broke out, the Radomsker Rebbe ran from Sosnowice, where he lived after the First World War, to Aleksander. From there most likely he was sent by the Nazis into the Warsaw Ghetto, where the Nazi barbarians cut down the tree of the Radomsker Dynasty and killed him with his entire family with such savagery.
The Radomsker Rebbe’s brother-in-law, the Rebbe Reb Moishe’le Tverski of Kras, who was a son of my uncle, the Rebbe Reb Ahrele Twerski, of blessed memory, of Kras, also perished in Jewish martyrdom at the hands of the Germans, together with his entire family, with his rebetzin Freidele and his only daughter Tziva.
At first the Krosner Rebbe Reb Moishe’le was saved in Lemberg, together with his mother, my aunt Doyzele, may she rest in peace, who was the daughter of the old Razwadower Rebbe, Reb Moishe’le Horowicz, of blessed memory. Her daughters Simkha and Miriam with her husband the Rebbe Reb Nafthali Horowicz, the last Razwadower Rebbe and their children were there, too. Later, when Aunt Doyzele died in Lemberg, they returned to Kras and there they all perished in Jewish martyrdom…
Let us on this day, when we remember the Ghetto Uprising in Warsaw, and every day of the year, and for all eternity, remember what the Germans did to the Jewish people, and let us never forgive them…
Photo caption: The Krosner Rebbe, Reb Moishele Twerski, a brother-in-law of the Radomsker Rebbe, may the Lord avenge his blood, who perished as a martyr as a Jew, together with his entire family in Poland.