After becoming a legal resident, R. Berke was more relaxed, and he finally agreed to write a letter to his wife in his own handwriting to inform her that he was living among Lubavitchers and was doing well. He refrained from writing his location since he was afraid that the authorities in Lvov were still looking for him. He also refused to send the letter through the post office because he was afraid that the KGB would read it. He insisted on finding someone who would deliver it personally.

My brother Berel lived in Stalinabad (now known as Dushanbe) after he married, and at just this time (around 1955) he was sent by his work to attend a conference in Moscow. On his way there he passed through Samarkand. Eli Mishulovin considered it vital that one of us give R. Berke’s wife the letter and personal regards from him, and so he arranged with my brother to meet him at the train station in Samarkand.

When they met, Eli gave Berel two missions: to travel to Riga and raise money to assist R. Berke in settling down in Samarkand, and to travel to Lvov and give R. Berke’s wife the letter and regards. Eli handed him the letter in an open envelope and said that R. Berke told him that if Berel wanted, he could read the letter.

Berel did not dare to read the letter but one line, written in Russian, could be seen through the envelope that sent shivers up his spine. R. Berke had written, “You surely remember that when we met and decided to marry, we said that wherever we lived and wherever we will be, we would never forget one another.”

Today too, as I write these lines, I am amazed by the circumstances of those years. A young couple met and decided to marry and what did they talk about? Not about buying a house, not about furniture, but asking one another to keep their commitment alive whenever and wherever they would end up.

Berel first went to Riga where he met Chabad Chassidim such as R. Yisrael Pevzner, R. Mulle Pruss, R. Notke Berkahan, and another Lubavitcher by the name of Shlomo (my brother does not remember his last name), who welcomed him warmly and gave him generous donations. From there he continued on to Lvov.

He did not want to go directly to Feigel’s house for fear that the house might be under surveillance, so the meeting took place in my uncle Dovid PevzneR.s house. Feigel met him there with her daughter Freida. Feigel’s joy was immense when she heard that Berel had a letter from her husband. She took the letter and as soon as she saw her husband’s handwriting, she wept tears of joy. She read it through, tears streaming down her cheeks.

Despite her strong desire to know more information about her husband, she did not ask my brother who he was or where he came from. She knew that you could not ask these questions in Russia. The only question she asked was, “Did you personally see my husband?”

When Berel said that he had seen R. Berke, she could not believe her ears and she asked him again and again, with several variations, to make sure that Berel had indeed seen her husband. My brother told her that not only had he seen R. Berke but that he had even shared a room with him for two years. He said that R. Berke asked him to send his regards and to tell her that he was healthy and living among Lubavitchers and that he was strong in his belief that they would unite again soon.

Feigel’s joy was boundless. My brother felt that his trip to Lvov was well worth it.

Another year passed before R. Berke dared to tell his wife where he was. He rented an apartment and asked her to come to Samarkand with their daughter. A group of us went to the train station to meet the two of them and to bring them to R. Berke’s new home. I cannot possibly describe how excited R. Berke was to meet his wife, whom he had not seen for ten years, and his ten-year-old daughter who had been barely three months old the last time he had seen her.

The entire Lubavitch community in Samarkand welcomed R. Berke’s wife with great honor. We knew how much this woman had endured over the years when she was left alone, with no news of her husband. In addition, she was a distinguished woman, very refined and with tremendous piety.

After arriving in Samarkand, Feigel related that a year earlier, in 1957, she convinced her parents to submit a request to join her young sons so that they should not remain alone outside of Russia. Their request was indeed accepted, and they traveled to Eretz Yisrael.