On Erev Pesach 5731/1971, a government official appeared in the Bagishomol Quarter, in the courtyard where many Lubavitcher families lived such as the family of R. Refael Chudaitov, R. Yaakov Boroshansky, R. Moshe Nissilevitch, R. Binyamin Malachovsky and others.

The official was looking for R. Moshe who had already submitted documents to OVIR with the request to leave. He met Mrs. Sonia Boroshansky and asked, “Where does R. Moshe Friedman (that was the name R. Moshe Nissilevitch used live? I have good news for him. He was granted an exit visa from Russia.”

Mrs. Boroshansky blurted out, “We also want to leave!”

Other people who were around and heard the officer’s remarks gathered around him and they badgered him that they wanted to immigrate to Israel as well. It was an interesting scene indeed. The official stood there in the middle and apologized, “Soon, all of you will be able to go. Believe me, you will all get your visas, but it can’t be all at once. It has to be orderly, one by one.”

Such an event had never occurred before in Soviet Russia. An OVIR official had arrived and related to whoever came his way that a certain citizen had been granted an exit visa! Unbelievable!

The news spread quickly among the Lubavitch communities in Samarkand and Tashkent, and it inspired renewed hope. Within a short time, R. Moshe was called to the OVIR office and he received his exit visa. They quickly gathered their belongings and left.

His brother-in-law R. Binyamin Malachovsky planned on accompanying them until Moscow. Who knew when they would see each other again? He also intended to take back to Samarkand any item that would not be approved for them to take with them from Russia, especially the pictures of the students of our yeshivah that R. Moshe had taken for the Rebbe.

He had another reason for going along as well:

Every passenger routed to Israel had to go to the Israeli embassy in Moscow to take care of paperwork. It was known that when you entered the embassy, they were greeted with a sign that read, “The walls have ears.” (This wasn’t a mere play on words, as the KGB planted listening devices to monitor the activities taking place in the embassy.) Then they pointed to the bookshelves and motioned that they could quietly take any sefarim they wanted.

These were Jewish books that Russian Jews needed, including Chabad sefarim like Tanyas, siddurim, and talks of the Rebbe. The person going to Israel would take some and place them in his suitcase. When he left the embassy nobody checked him because he was considered someone who was on his way out. The books were left in the house where he was being hosted and would eventually reach those who remained trapped in Russia.

At that time, the Israeli embassy did not operate in Moscow since Russia had cut off diplomatic ties with Israel at the outbreak of the Six Day War. However, the Dutch Embassy, which represented Israel and took care of all the required paperwork, also knew about the sefarim and had the same system.

This is why R. Binyamin wanted to join the Nisselevitch family on its trip to Moscow, in order to bring the books back to Samarkand. However, when they arrived at the airport in Samarkand, they saw, to their horror, the infamous head of the Jewish department of the KGB in Samarkand, a Tatar by the name of Aktchurin.

He looked angrily at R. Moshe and his family and gnashed his teeth. He had always struggled to catch R. Moshe red-handed in his activities and had spent years preparing a heavy file against him. Now, however, he had to adjust to the political changes and allow them to leave Russia unharmed.

When they arrived at the ticket counter, Aktchurin came over and began to personally examine their documents, one by one. When R. Binyamin presented his ticket, he asked, “Who are you? Why are you leaving all of the sudden?”

R. Binyamin said that he was the brother of Mrs. Friedman (Nissilevitch) and he wanted to help them in Moscow. Aktchurin ground his teeth and huffed in fury, “They will manage on their own. You don’t need to go!” He forced him to remain in Samarkand, although he had already paid for his ticket.