After World War II, the Soviet and Polish governments reached an agreement allowing Polish citizens that had fled to Russia during the war to return to their homeland. Many Lubavitchers used this opportunity to forge papers stating that they were Polish citizens, and were therefore able to escape from Russia. R. Berke tried his luck as well at crossing the border into Poland. He traveled to Lvov (Lemberg) where community activists—led by R. Leibel Mochkin and R. Mendel Futerfas—arranged the forged documents for him. This was, it hardly needs to be said, very dangerous work, and those who were caught paid for this criminal act with long years of imprisonment and forced labor in Siberia. It would be only after Stalin’s death that their punishment would be annulled and they would be released.

Since obtaining Polish documents was such complicated and hazardous work, the activists gave priority to those who had young children who needed a Jewish education. After an exerted effort, R. Berke was able to obtain Polish passports for himself, his wife, and their two sons, as well as for his in-laws, R. Shneur Zalman and Menuchah Kalmanson and their family.

This took place during the summer of 1946. At the appointed time, he showed up with his family at the train station in Lvov. Not knowing that the secret police were following them, they waited with pounding hearts for the moment they could board the train to safety. After a short travel time of half an hour, they would finally reach freedom across the border!

Suddenly, a police car pulled up beside them. When R. Berke saw the car, he sensed that they had come for him. A moment letter, a man dressed in civilian clothing emerged and in the typical KGB fashion, “politely” asked R. Berke to accompany him. R. Berke managed to say a few words to his family, and asked them to say chapter 20 of Psalms on his behalf. His wife cried out to the policeman, “Where are you taking him?” The policeman eyed her coolly and replied, “He will return in a while.”

The train was supposed to come at any moment, and in those few minutes, the Chein family members had to make perhaps the most fateful decision of their lives: Who was going to continue with their plan to leave Russia and who would stay behind with R. Berke?

R. Berke's wife Feigel had already made up her mind, and firmly declared: "I'm not travelling anywhere." If her daughter was staying, Mrs. Kalmenson announced, then so was she. Ultimately, only the Kalmanson sons boarded the train. The train clattered noisily away and the dejected Chein family returned to the city.

A few months later, another train was arranged to transport purported Polish citizens out of Russia. Mere hours before the train’s departure, some of the community activists discovered that an opportunity existed to include an additional two boys to the group. Mrs. Sarah Katzenelbogen, known as “Mume Sarah,” arrived at the Chein-Kalmanson residence and suggested that the two Chein boys, Meir Simcha and Mordechai, seize the chance to escape.

Their mother Feigel was presently not home, so this time, it was up to their grandmother to make the crucial decision. She took the boys to the train station and sent them off; their mother only found out what had happened with them when she came home a few hours later and asked where her two sons were. Then, two months later, another train was approved for departure, and the family decided that their grandfather R. Zalman Kalmenson should join the boys. At least this way they would not remain orphans of the living. And so it was: Feigel remained in Russia alone with her mother, without her husband and children.