The Rebbe returned from the questioning racked by agonizing pain. For three full days no food or water had passed the Rebbe's lips. The Rebbe had firmly resolved to maintain a steadfast composure during all interrogations by the G.P.U., never to waver or betray any signs of weakness or anxiety to them. This resolution would not only pertain to religious matters, but also to his general demeanor. He would conduct himself as if these people were insignificant, to the extent that they would be in his eyes, in the words of the Baal Shem Tov, "truly naught and non-being."

Finally, on Friday afternoon a Jewish member of the G.P.U. brought him his tefillin and sacred books. The Rebbe told him, "I will not eat the prison food—only that which is brought from my home. As for water, I will accept it later from the prison, but only on the condition that it is warmed up in a vessel used only for water."

The G.P.U. official was infuriated: "Do you intend to give kosher supervision for the prison kitchen?"

The Rebbe replied: "I am not a Rabbi who is involved in providing kosher supervision."

He then immediately put on his tefillin and began to pray.

A short time passed and the prison guard brought three whole challah breads for the Shabbat meal — challot brought especially for the Rebbe from his home. This was an unusual occurrence. Under normal circumstances, bread or anything else brought for the prisoner was usually cut into small pieces as a security precaution against smuggling prohibited objects into the prison. The Rebbe received the challot whole: this incident expressed a deferential policy toward him. From that time, the cell guard displayed a far more respectful attitude.

The Rebbe's first Shabbat meal in prison consisted of a challah and some cold water from the faucet. He recited Kiddush and made the blessing on bread out loud, chanting them with a particular Chabad melody.

The change of attitude on the part of the guard expressed itself in many ways. One instance: there was no clock in the cell, so the Rebbe had no certain knowledge of the time for the evening prayers, which could begin during the lengthy summer days at approximately 11:00 o'clock at night. The Rebbe requested of the guard that when the time came, he should knock on the door, and thus indicate to him that it was time for the evening prayer. The guard complied with his request.

About four o'clock Shabbat afternoon they came to photograph the Rebbe. When they arrived, the Rebbe was praying at length, with his talit over his head. Seeing that the Rebbe was absorbed in his prayers they left quietly.

When they arrived a second time, the Rebbe's face was uncovered. The Rebbe didn't understand what they wanted, and was at a point in the prayers where it was prohibited to interrupt, so he motioned with his hand and they left.

When the Rebbe finished praying, his cell-mates explained to him why they had come.

The third time they arrived, the Rebbe explained that it was Shabbat, and he could not be photographed.

When they came back after Shabbat, the Rebbe sat down with his yarmulke on, and spread his talit katan with all of the tzitzit, so that not only the front two should be seen, but the back two as well. Then they tried to explain that in a Spalerno photograph it is not important to see tzitzit.

The Rebbe replied, "If you want to photograph me, you need to photograph me as I look!"

And they took the photograph without requiring the Rebbe to conceal the tzitzit.

At the conclusion of the first Shabbat, the guard gave the Rebbe two matches so that he could make the Havdallah blessing over the flame. Afterward the Rebbe recited the prayer "And may G‑d grant you . . . with profound inner gladness."

When the Rebbe was taken from his cell for fingerprinting, he met there his secretary, Mr. Lieberman, and several other Jews who had been arrested. The Rebbe told them: "several of you will be sent to Solovaki and several will be freed. Wherever you go, you must relate that you were in Spalerka and that you saw the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who was arrested for establishing chadorim, yeshivot and mikvaot. No one should be hindered from these activities, and the work must continue."

During the early days of the Rebbe's imprisonment a different drama had been unfolding outside the prison.

Seven o'clock on the morning of the arrest, a meeting was held at the Rebbe's home. By ten o'clock the meeting moved to a Jewish community center. Representatives from every party attended, except, of course, the communists.

In order not to provoke the G.P.U., it was decided not to turn abroad for help, but to focus all efforts domestically. By noon, the Leningrad Jewish leaders were on the phone with their brethren in Moscow, informing them of the situation and the plan of action.

The Rebbe's son-in-law, Rabbi Shmaryahu Gourarie was dispatched to Moscow.

The Jewish leaders in Moscow concurred that pressure from abroad might worsen the situation — that would be even more proof of the Rebbe's counter-revolutionary activities — the capitalists would be supporting him.

On Shabbat morning, a religious Jew from Moscow arrived with the ominous news. The G.P.U. had decided to execute the Rebbe.

Previously, the committee was afraid to turn to the officials in Moscow. It had happened in the past, that when the G.P.U. of one city applied pressure upon that of another city, they would immediately shoot the prisoner, so as not to have to succumb to the pressure of another entity. Now, however, there was nothing to lose. Telegrams were dispatched to President Kalinin and Prime Minister Rykov, and the directors of G.P.U. in Moscow. In order to escape the notice of the G.P.U., the meeting was held in a bank office.

At any moment the G.P.U. could quietly take the Rebbe into a cellar and shoot him.

The news of the Rebbe's arrest had shaken Jewish communities across the world to their foundations. Messengers were sent to Haditz, Niezin, Rostov and Lubavitch, to pray for the Rebbe's safe release at the gravesites of his predecessors. Important Jewish centers such as Kharkov and Minsk were also notified. The communities in those cities decided to gather petitions vouching for the Rebbe's loyalty to the Soviet authorities. Several hundred thousand Jews across the U.S.S.R., signed petitions begging for the Rebbe's release.

The committee also turned to the President of the Red Cross in the U.S.S.R., Madam Ekaterina Peshkova.

The entire Jewish community, religious and non-observant, received the news with shock and apprehension. Synagogues were filled to capacity. Old men wept while reciting Psalms. Monday and Thursday of the first week were declared fast days in communities across the U.S.S.R.. Russian Jewry observed Yom Kippur twice that week. The Rebbe was in the G.P.U.'s net.

Back in the prison, after many requests and demands, the Rebbe was visited by a doctor in the middle of the second week following the Rebbe's first Shabbat of imprisonment. Although the Rebbe's health was far from satisfactory, the doctor determined that, although it might be against his will, the Rebbe was able to remain in prison.

There were continued improvements in the treatment received by the Rebbe. On Friday, the tenth day of his imprisonment, the Rebbe was allowed to send a brief note to his family for the first time. "I am well," he wrote, "do not worry. Please send me my clothing for Shabbat." That very day, the Rebbe received Shabbat clothing and a gartel (prayer sash).

Forgetting his surroundings, he began Kaballat Shabbat (prayer to greet Shabbat). In his silk cloak, gartel and hat, the Rebbe began to sing Lecha Dodi ("Come, my beloved, to greet the bride, Shabbat").

Although the Communist government had canceled all outgoing telegram service the previous week due to their national security crisis, somehow, word of the Rebbe's arrest spread abroad.

In Germany, the Chief Orthodox Rabbi of Berlin, Dr. Hildesheimer, and Dr. Leo Baeck, Reform Rabbi of Berlin, went to visit Dr. Oscar Kahn, a Socialist Deputy of the Bundestag, the German Legislative Body, to enlist his help.

Dr. Kahn went to the German Foreign Minister, Dr. Gustav Strezman. Immediately, the four of them went off to the German Reich-Chancellor, Weissman. Weissman had good relations with the Soviet Ambassador in Berlin, Krestinsky.

Ambassador Krestinsky explained, "I am sure that the Soviet government has no benefit from arresting the Rebbe. It must be the Yevsektzia." He promised to do his utmost to clarify the matter with Moscow.

Although the committee had decided not to contact the international community, telegrams began to arrive from across the globe. From England, France, Germany and America, from Israel and the Scandinavian countries.

Chassidim in several U.S. cities notified the synagogues and community organizations of the situation. Many of them immediately sent telegrams to their senators, congressmen, and to the Joint Distribution Committee.

In the United States, Mr. Yekusiel (Sam) Kramer, a prominent attorney, went to Washington. U.S. Senators William Borah (R-Idaho), Royal Coperland (D-NY) and Robert Wagner (D-NY), and Congressman Jacobstein were also involved with the efforts. Senator Borah was the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee the senators were on The Peace Committee and were prominent in the Soviets eyes. The U.S. State Department was also heavily involved. Most of the Chassidim in the U.S. did not believe the rumors, as they heard of it only from the newspapers, and did not rely upon that information.

Considering the historical backdrop of the time, when the entire world was certain of imminent war with Russia, the international efforts to free the Rebbe are all the more impressive, as relations between the U.S.S.R. and the rest of the world were extremely strained.

That first week President Kalinin and Premier Rykov received thousands of telegrams.

In response to their inquiries, the committee received one reply: "The Rebbe was arrested as a serious offender. His situation has not changed."

Prominent delegations of Jews from the largest Soviet cities came to see Menzhinsky, the director of the G.P.U. He refused to receive them.

After several days, many prominent Christians, and even communists began to speak out on the Rebbes behalf.

Finally, Madam Peshkova notified the committee:the death sentence had been stayed.

The committee met again. The sentence was now five years hard labor on the Solovaki Islands. Their work needed to continue.

Another delegation went off to Madam Peshkova: The new sentence was also life-threatening and it was imperative to have it commuted — or at least postponed. And if that was not possible, the government could at least allow the Rebbe to travel first-class at his own expense. The Rebbe was ill.

By June 29th newspapers the world over were reporting that the Rebbe had been released. The communists had begun to spread this misinformation to ease the international furor.

On Tuesday evening, the 21st of Sivan (June 21), the Rebbe was taken for a second interrogation. Lulav was the main interrogator, and the Rebbe was again asked about the nature of Chassidus and subjected to the same accusations of counter-revolutionary activity. He warned Lulav that his attempts to implicate religious Jews were likely to result in a Russian anti-Semitic backlash against all Jews, himself included. When he returned to his cell he also recorded the details of this interrogation on cigarette papers.

On Wednesday, 29 Sivan (June 29) the Rebbe was supposed to depart for the Solovaki Islands of Siberia. The Rebbe's family had been notified of his imminent departure, and they came to the prison to see him off on the 7:00 PM train. Word spread quickly, and a huge crowd had gathered outside Spalerka. They didn't know of Madam Peshkovas success.

While the crowd waited outside, the Rebbe was being called for his third interrogation.

New accusations were added. For hours, Lulav and the interrogators tried to get the Rebbe to implicate himself. Finally, Lulav said to the Rebbe, "Your situation is very grave. As an exile-prisoner you will suffer great pain. You can save yourself from this punishment. If you agree to the rabbinical conference, issue a proclamation that you regret your anti-conference position. Give your blessing to the conference, and you will walk out of here momentarily."

"I do not regret anything," the Rebbe answered. "You can threaten me with the worst punishments. You will not achieve your aims. You can send me to Siberia for it, but I will not deviate from my ways."

Thursday, Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, (June 30) eleven o'clock in the morning, a guard entered the Rebbe's cell and commanded him to stand. The guards spoke Russian, but it was the Rebbe's decision to respond to them in Yiddish, and he replied that he would not stand.

Prison procedure required that the prisoners stand whenever they received any kind of information. This was to demonstrate that the prisoner was subject to the authority of his captors; it was for this very reason that the Rebbe refused to stand.

It seems that one of the guards was a Jew who understood the Rebbe's Yiddish reply. To the Rebbe's answer, the guards responded in Russian, "If you will not obey, we will beat you." The Rebbe responded with a non-committal "Nu..." The guards beat him harshly and departed.

Later another group of guards entered the cell, with Lulav among them.

"Rebbe," Lulav said, "why this strange conduct with them? Why are you so stubborn? They have come to inform you that your sentence has been lightened; therefore, if you are told to stand, then do so!"

The Rebbe remained totally unresponsive. Lulav asked, "Should they beat you?" Again the Rebbe did not answer.

Once again the guards began to pummel the Rebbe and then left. One of them struck him under the chin, and the Rebbe suffered pain from this blow for years afterwards. A group of guards came to the cell for the third time; among them was a Jew named Kavelov. They instructed the Rebbe to stand, and he again refused. Kavelov began to beat him, but to no avail.

Kavelov, infuriated, cried out in Russian, "We shall teach you!"

The Rebbe replied in Yiddish, "We shall see who will teach whom."

After a while some guards came to the cell and told the Rebbe to proceed to the office. There he was informed that his sentence had been reduced, as Lulav had mentioned. He was to be freed from prison and sent for three years exile to the city of Kastroma.

As the Rebbe approached the table, he observed the documents of his case lying there. He noticed that the first line had been crossed out, nullifying the original death sentence. The next line stated that the Rebbe should be sent away to prison for ten years to Solovaki; next to it was written, Nyet! ("no!) On the last line was written: "Three years Kastroma."

When the Rebbe was told he was being sent to Kastroma for a three-year term, he was asked at the same time which class train accommodations he desired, and he answered, Mezhdunarodni -- international — the top class reserved for high government officials and affluent businessmen. He was asked if he was capable of paying the high price, and the Rebbe replied that if the money confiscated from his bureau at the time of his arrest was inadequate, he would instruct the members of his household to pay the remainder.

It was Thursday; the Rebbe asked when the train would arrive in Kastroma, and he was told on Shabbat. The Rebbe declared that he would not travel on Shabbat under any circumstances, so he remained in Spalerka over Shabbat.