There were various measures taken in regards to maintaining secrecy in Samarkand. Someone might have prayed with us in the secret minyan, but we would hold back other information from them. The biggest secret was the underground learning.

The secrecy was so great that even our closest family members did not know about the underground yeshiva. Additionally, in order to maintain maximum confidentiality, the location of the studies had to be changed from time to time.

The danger in having boys learning Torah in a private house was that it was illegal on all fronts. First, it was an illegal gathering. Second, the fact that the boys came from other cities made their presence unlawful. Since they did not attend a government educational institution and did not work anywhere, nor did they have an official address, they were in Samarkand illegally. In the Russia of those days, staying in a city for over twenty-four hours without a permit was a criminal act. And obviously, if a yeshiva studentwas caught red-handed in a home, the host could be accused of organizing secret meetings for Torah and religion as well as hosting illegal residents. This is why we kept it a secret as much as possible.

Many times, the students hiding in the homes of members of the community encountered quite unpleasant situations. For example, at one point they learned in my parents' home at 23 Rosa Luxemburg Street. At that time, my sister, brother-in-law Eliyahu and their three children lived in the house as well. Due to the fact that my brother-in-law was sick and had a heart condition, it was very important for the boys to be quiet all day and not disturb his rest. For that reason, they could not learn in the living room next to my brother-in-law's bedroom. Instead, the boys were forced to learn in my parents' bedroom which was further away. As a result, my mother was unable to rest during the daytime because her bedroom was occupied by yeshiva students.

When my brother-in-law's parents would come to visit him, the boys would be careful not to leave my parents' bedroom. Eli's parents realized however, that something was happening in his in-laws' bedroom: they heard strange sounds coming from there, and the door was always closed. But they never asked for more information, knowing that in our home one should not ask any questions, especially when not told anything beforehand.

Of course we were extremely careful that the courtyard gate always be locked. But we once forgot to lock the gate, and Eliyahu’s parents entered the yard unexpectedly. When the boys saw them, they rushed toward the bedroom to hide as usual, but it was too late. Eli's parents started laughing and said: "Why are you running? Now we understand why that room is always closed and the meaning of the sounds coming from within it!" But the boys were still quite alarmed. Eli turned to his parents and said, “Please, act as if you have not seen anything and do not know anything!”

Later, the boys returned to study in my brother Berel's house at 6 Tchelekskaya Street. With its enclosed courtyard, and its private, heated, hut, one can just imagine the heaven this must have seemed to the boys in comparison to the previous location.

At that time, when my father or mother would come to visit my brother, he tried very hard to keep them away from the place the boys learned. In Russia of those years no one was sure who would be called to the KGB; and why should anyone have to keep such a secret? No one was sure they could resist the interrogation and torture of the KGB, so people preferred simply not to reveal anything even to the closest relatives, and parents. The parents themselves did not want to know too many details for the same reasons.

One time, recalls Shmuel Chaim Frenkel, a young Lubavitcher man in his early twenties was visiting the Zaltzman home at 23 Rosa Luxemburg Street. He felt that something was going on, and in his curiosity, was eager to find out what it was. He approached my three-year-old niece Rochele, the daughter of Eliyahu Mishulovin (now Rebbetzin Rachel Glukowsky from Rechovot, Israel), and began talking to her as if he knew that people studied in their home.

Everyone was afraid that little Rochele would reveal the secret. But to all of our astonishment, this clever girl swung matters in such a way that she revealed nothing, and this twenty-something fellow left our home without finding out a thing. Children were raised knowing how to keep a secret from a young age indeed!

At another point, the yeshiva moved to Dovid Mishulovin's home, on Komunisticheskaya Street. The advantage of his house was that its windows faced the street, and before entering the home one had to knock on the window and would be seen quite easily. Another benefit was that the house had a basement, the steps to which were located in the foyer leading to the house. In the event that an unwanted guest was about to enter, there was enough time for all the boysto quickly make a getaway and descend to the basement.

It happened once that the brother of R. Dovid’s wife Sarah, Yakov Pil, came over to visit, and the boys immediately went hiding into the basement. When Yaakov heard a noise in the basement, and asked what it was, he was simply told it was mice. But once there was a more serious situation. A woman, actually a mother of one of the boys who studied there, came to visit Sarah Mishulovin. While all the boys were sitting quietly down in the basement, one of them had to use the bathroom very badly. Still, as long as the woman was upstairs, no one could come out, and he suffered immensely. From then on, they put a pail for the boys to use in case of an emergency.

I myself hosted some of the students in my house for quite some time after I married. We lived then in a one bedroom apartment in my parent's courtyard. The room, some eight by ten meters, functioned as a dining room, living room, and bedroom. In front of the room was a small hallway used for storage and as a kitchen. Before we moved to this residence, the hallway housed my parents' goat, which they kept to provide us with milk. At one point, it served as R. Shlomo Raskin’s residence during the winter months. It was in this apartment that the boys learned.

After the birth of our daughter Chanah, we divided our room into two parts: a bedroom for us, and a small room used as a dining room, which also housed a small bed for our daughter. In this small cubicle no less than five boys studied, and while my little girl was lying in her crib she would hear the quiet sounds of Torah study. I think of my daughter in those days when I learn the Talmud's story of Rabbi Yehoshua's mother, who would set his cradle in the study hall during his infancy so that he would absorb the sweet sounds of the Torah. It was of this woman that the Sages declared, "Praised be she who bore him!"

When we considered moving to a new residence, we needed to take into account whether the new location would be able to continue serving as a place of learning for the boys. Indeed, when we moved to 8 Novaya Street, the learning continued in our house. Our new residence had two advantages: (1) The house was larger than our previous apartment. (2) The landlord was a cobbler who discovered that there was a shortage of shoes in Kazakhstan, and that cobblers working there earned a nice profit. Consequently, he went to work in Alma Ata, the capital of Kazakhstan, and during the summer, his wife and children would join their father there. The landlord’s wife allowed me to use their big sun porch while she was away, and the boys were able to learn there in comfort.

By this stage, R. Yosef Volovik had become lecturer in the yeshiva, and the students were: Avraham Goldberg, of blessed memory; his cousin Avraham Pressman, now a famous cantor; Dovid Itche Marinovsky; Shmuel Chaim Frenkel; Shaya Gratzman; Naftali Estulin, and one whose name I do not recall. In general, we tried to avoid gathering more than four students in one place, but sometimes we had no choice. Since, as related above, our new home was a good location for study during the summer, seven boys ended up learning at my house. I remember that when R. Yosef Volovik came to us for the first time to give a class, he was surprised to see such a large group of boys in one place.

We later moved again, to 7a Artileriyskaya Street. It was virtually paradise there: the house had three rooms and a completely private courtyard. Additionally, there was an inner courtyard adjacent to us with an empty apartment which we subsequently rented as well. The boys were thus able to learn without fear of prying neighbors.

Despite all this, the non-Jews outside sensed that their Jewish neighbors were different, and on occasion they would see young Jews entering the courtyard. They tried to disturb us and would throw stones against the iron gate of the yard.

In order to preserve secrecy, the yeshiva students had to remain inside the house throughout the day. We couldn’t allow them to leave during the daytime hours so the neighbors would not suspect the existence of any illegal activity. As such, the hostess was required to prepare meals for the boyslearning in her home, and my wife thus prepared meals for theboys of ouryeshiva.

The boys however found it difficult to remain quietly indoors for so long and they would go outside from time to time to dispel some of their tension. It sometimes happened that the neighbors would then learn of the source of the noise coming from our property and we had no choice but to move the boys to a different home.

During the time the studies took place in our home, my wife was afraid to stay home while I went to work. She was afraid that a neighbor or someone else might ask about the noise, and she would not know what to answer.

When I would leave for work, she would cry and ask to go out with me and walk the streets with our daughter Chanaleh, then aged three, until the evening when I would return from work. I understood her reasons for concern, but I could not agree, and I asked that she should remain at home. "If a neighbor knocks on the door," I said, "it is better for someone to open the door and provide an explanation than for the boys to hide with no one opening the door, thus increasing the neighbor's suspicions." My wife realized that she had no choice and had to stay home, but she cried and said, "Why didn't you tell me when we first met each other that this is how my life would be after the wedding...?"