Yeshiva (Hebrew: ישיבת מיר, Yeshivas Mir), commonly
known as the Mirrer Yeshiva or The Mir, was a Lithuanian yeshiva located in the town
of Mir, Russian Empire (now Belarus). After relocating a number of times during World War
II, it has evolved into three yeshivas, one in Jerusalem, with a subsidiary campus
in Brachfeld, Modi'in Illit, and the other two in Brooklyn, New York: the Mir
Yeshiva, and Bais Hatalmud.
For a short
period, part of this yeshiva was located in Ramygala.
The invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany from the west, in 1939, and the Red
Army from the east meant the yeshiva was unable to remain in Mir, which was now under Soviet
Communist rule. Many of the foreign-born students left, but the bulk of the yeshiva relocated to Lithuania,
which had been overrun by Soviet Russia, but not yet Sovietized. The yeshiva was first re-established
in Vilnius, and then in Keidan, Lithuania. Not many months elapsed before Lithuania became virtually
annexed by Soviet Russia, and the future of the yeshiva was again in peril. The yeshiva was split into four
sections: The "first division", under the leadership of Rabbi Chaim Leib Shmuelevitz as rosh yeshiva and Rabbi
Yechezkel Levenstein as mashgiach, relocated to Krakinova; the other three divisions went to the three
small towns of Ramigola (about 15 km away), Shat and Krak. This
arrangement was only a temporary solution, and that ultimately the yeshivah would need to flee Soviet-occupied
Lithuania in order to survive. In the summer of 1940, several students of the yeshivah learned that the Dutch
ambassador to Lithuania was willing to provide them with destination-visas to the Caribbean island of Curaçao.
Concurrently, it became known that the Japanese consul in Lithuania, Chiune Sugihara, had agreed to issue transit visas to refugees who wished to escape
via the Japanese-occupied Pacific. As a result of these fortuitous events (seen by many to this day as acts of
divine providence) most of the yeshivah students requested and received several thousand transit-visas from
Sugihara, permitting them to depart to the Far East.
For more on the
Mir Yeshiva see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mir_yeshiva_(Belarus)