Rabbi Chaim Michael Dov Weissmandl
חים מיכאל דוב ב"ר יוסףRosh Yeshivah, Nitra, Hungary
Date of Death:
Fri. November 29, 1957 -
Kislev 6 5718
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Directions to Kever: Beth Israel Cemetery, also, know as Woodbridge Memorial Gardens located along US Highway 1 in Woodbridge, New Jersey. Gate hours are officially 8:30 – 4:30 but will remain open until sunset (6:30 during the summer). In addition, Beth Israel maintains computerized records and will provide a detailed location map upon request. Location: along Montefiore Avenue in the Viener Chelka
Rav Weissmandl who was better known as Reb Michael Ber was born in Debrecen, Hungary in 1903. In 1931 he entered the Nitra Yeshiva where he was considered a prize student of Rav Shmuel Dovid Unger, whose daughter he later married.
The Rav became known for his efforts to save the Jews of Slovakia from extermination at the hands of the Nazis during the Holocaust. Largely by bribing diplomats, the Rav was able to smuggle letters or telegrams to people he hoped would help save the Jews of Europe, alerting them to the progressive Nazi destruction of European Jewry. It is known that he managed to send letters to Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Pope Pius XII. He also unsuccessfully begged the Allies to bomb the rails leading to Auschwitz.
The Rav arrived in the United States a broken man having lost his wife, five children, and community. Although the Rav remarried and had five children, he never forgot his family and community in Europe and was unable to overcome his grief.
In November 1946, the Rav and his brother-in-law, Rav Sholom Moshe Unger, re-established the Nitra Yeshiva in Somerville, NJ, gathering surviving students from the original Nitra Yeshiva. A year later, with the help of Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz, a large estate in Mount Kisco, NY was purchased and the Yeshiva relocated. On its new campus, a self-sustaining agricultural community known as the “Yeshiva Farm Settlement” was established.
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