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August 30, 2015 / 15 Elul, 5775
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Rededication Of Yeshiva Chachmei Lublin In Poland (Part I)

         It has been said that Poland is a country of ghosts and for the past 68 years, since the invasion of Poland by the Germans in 1939, there has been little to celebrate.

 

         Most of the time when a large group of Jews came together it was to remember the tragedy of the  Shoah.

 

         This week more then a thousand people came to celebrate the rededication of the famous Yeshiva Chachmei Lublin, established by the great visionary Rabbi Meir Shapiro in 1930. The yeshiva became known worldwide as the “Oxford of the Yeshiva World” for the quality of both its students and teachers. Tragically, it existed only nine years before the Germans invaded, closed the yeshiva, and murdered most of its students.

 


The three rabbis of Poland preparing for the celebration of the Siyum of Daf Yomi

 

 

 


Yonatan and Daniela Finkelstein at Havdalah in the restored Beis Midrash

 

 



Davening Shacharis in the newly renovated Yeshiva Chachmei Lublin


 

 

        For years the building served as a medical college, but the name Yeshiva Chachmei Lublin remained in the hearts of Jews worldwide. Other schools used the name, keeping its ideals of scholastic excellence alive. But the physical building remained in the hands of strangers. Three years ago the building was returned to the Jewish community, but it had become rundown and in need of major renovation.

 


The town crier is one of the many Polish officials who attended the event

 

 


Monica Krawczyk, director of the Foundation for the Preservation on Jewish Heritage in Poland, presents a menorah to the renovated Yeshiva building

 

 



Rabbi Meir Shapiro, founder of Yeshiva Chachmei Lublin in 1930


 

 

         The Jewish community of Warsaw, which includes Lublin, decided to take on the project single-handedly. Using monies received as restitution from other properties, they renovated one wing of the building including the fabled beis midrash. The celebration took place over the weekend of Parshas Yitro.

 

         In the coming weeks I will be writing about the events surrounding the celebrations in my regular column, Polin.


 



Partial view of the more then 1500 people who came to Lublin to celebrate the opening of the Yeshiva



 


 


A copy of the original yeshiva banner hanging from the famous balcony


 


 


 


Rabbi Yechiel Kauffman Of Cong. Anshei Sephard of Boro Park, with Mr. Janek Novak, who oversaw the restoration work at The Yeshiva Chachmei Lublin


 


 


 


 


The original paroches (ark covering) from before the Shoah, in use again

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The official beginning of World War II was September 1, 1939. On that day German soldiers invaded Gdansk after bombarding the city with a military warship. As part of the Polish Government’s official series of events marking seven decades since the start of World War II, Poland’s Jewish community and the Jerusalem-based “Shavei Israel” organization held a special ceremony yesterday in the Gdansk synagogue to commemorate the outbreak of the war, which paved the way for the Holocaust.

September 1, 1939 is the date on which Germany invaded Poland, starting WWII. While it should be said that the start of the war was not the start of the Shoah, which actually began with the rise of Nazism in 1933, it was a major milestone in the annals of the Holocaust. Within the first few days of the war, Germany had conquered and/or bombed much of Poland, including the capital, Warsaw.

September 1, 1939 is the date on which Germany invaded Poland, starting WWII. While it should be said that the start of the war was not the start of the Shoah, which actually began with the rise of Nazism in 1933, it was a major milestone in the annals of the Holocaust. Within the first few days of the war, Germany had conquered and/or bombed much of Poland, including the capital, Warsaw.

In September 1939 the Germans started establishing ghettos in the occupied territory of Poland. Ghettos played an important role in the Jewish extermination policy. They were filled with Polish and Western European Jewish deportees. The ghettos differed in times of existence, size, internal organization, and living conditions. The Germans called them ” death boxes” (Todeskiste). The city of Lodz belonged to the Wartheland District and the Germans changed its name into Litzmannstadt.

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