The Leningrad group dedicated to the goal of rescuing the Rebbe decided to further its efforts to secure his full release. It was decided to appeal to the chief Soviet prosecutor, Karlinko, for clemency toward the Rebbe. They believed that the efforts of Madam Peshkova, together with the intense political pressures from foreign lands, would be of influence in this matter. It was decided also that Rabbi Shmaryahu Gourary, the Rebbe's son-in-law, should travel to Moscow and discuss this matter with the rescue committee there.

The meeting of the Moscow group came to the conclusion that before meeting Madam Peshkova and appealing to Chief Prosecutor Karlinko, it would be wise to explore their possibilities of success. In response to their inquiries, they were advised to slacken their efforts for the next six months, since the G.P.U. would firmly resist any attempts to achieve full amnesty, having already suffered so great a loss of prestige in this case. It would be perceived as brazen defiance on the part of a religious group to petition for total freedom barely one week after the Rebbe had been sent into exile, and demeaning to the G.P.U. itself.

Despite this advice, they decided to maintain their efforts. Once again they sought the aid of Madam Peshkova, who renewed her own exertions. A Jewish assistant of Madam Peshkova traveled to Leningrad to see Messing, the head of the Leningrad G.P.U., to prevail upon him to soften his stance and not to obstruct the efforts to achieve freedom for the Rebbe.

The Chassidic Discourse "Baruch Hagomel" penned by the Rebbe on the day of his liberation.
The Chassidic Discourse "Baruch Hagomel" penned by the Rebbe on the day of his liberation.

However, Messing, who had actually been responsible for the imprisonment of the Rebbe, refused to listen.

"There is no hope for reducing the sentence," he replied. When asked for a rationale for his position, he replied that it was fear of anti-Semitism: "Many priests and clergyman of the Christian and Moslem faiths have been imprisoned and sent to exile, and none have been released. If liberty is granted to the Rebbe, there will be a clamor and outcry that this entire matter is under the control of the Jews." An ironic aspect of this posture was the fact that Messing was known to be a virulent anti-Semite.

Messing also threatened that, even if Moscow could give the order for complete freedom, he would countermand it. Should the Rebbe return to Leningrad, he would find some new ruse or pretext to imprison him once again. Madam Peshkova's emissary returned with this negative response.


The Moscow group was undeterred by Messing's obstinate answer and decided to persist in their efforts until they would achieve the complete, unconditional release of the Rebbe. It was, however, self-evident that the Rebbe's return to Leningrad would be perilous, because of Messing's all-pervasive control. Meanwhile, Madam Peshkova made intensive endeavors to exert influence in the highest rungs of Soviet officialdom, finally succeeding.

Certificate of release granted to the Rebbe.
Certificate of release granted to the Rebbe.

On Tuesday, the 12th of Tammuz (July 12) — the Rebbe's 47th birthday — the Rebbe appeared at the headquarters of the G.P.U., accompanied by Rabbi Althaus, for his obligatory weekly appearance. The local G.P.U. official greeted him genially and informed him of his release: "You are totally freed from the need of any further appearances. The order has been received to grant you full freedom, and I regard it as a personal privilege to be the first one to inform you of your complete amnesty."

Rabbi Althaus reacted with intense emotion; his face went from deep livid to palest white and back; the Rebbe had to calm him and help him regain his composure.

The Rebbe's daughter Chaya Moussia called the family in Leningrad by telephone to inform them of the liberation, with the added warning to keep the information secret. She also sent a telegram to make sure they understood clearly. They signed the telegram, in the place of the name, Bli Pirsum --"without publicity."

 The Rebbe in his stateroom aboard the S.S. Drottingholm upon his arrival in New York.
The Rebbe in his stateroom aboard the S.S. Drottingholm upon his arrival in New York.

In Kastroma, news of the Rebbe's release spread with lightning speed. Even before he returned to his lodgings, the news was already known. Upon his arrival, the Rebbe viewed an unusual and moving spectacle — the chassid Reb Michael Dworkin was dancing round the house, in his hand a bottle of wine, and upon his lips a melody with Russian words, singing with great feeling: Nyet, nyet nikavo ("Nothing, nothing exists aside from G‑d!" The small son of the chassid danced about in somersault fashion, his feet flailing above and his hands firmly placed against the fence.

On that very day, the 12th of Tammuz, a large gathering of Jews assembled in his lodging in Kastroma and he delivered the Maamar (chassidic discourse), G‑d is Among Those That Help Me

The certificate of freedom, issued by the Kostroma Political Bureau on July 13 , 1927, permitting the Rebbe to "dwell in the entire U.S.S.R."
The certificate of freedom, issued by the Kostroma Political Bureau on July 13 , 1927, permitting the Rebbe to "dwell in the entire U.S.S.R."

The day was a legal holiday and the G.P.U. office could not issue the actual Certificate of Release until the following day. The order from Moscow to release the Rebbe had been so emphatic that when the Rebbe arrived the next day to receive his release papers, the official asked that he write next to his signature that the delay was not their fault.

After receiving the Certificate of Release, the Rebbe delivered the ma'amar Blessed Be the One Who Bestows Good, before the large number of people who again gathered in his dwelling.

On the 14th of Tammuz (July 14), at nine in the morning, the Rebbe left the city of Kastroma a free citizen, and on Friday the 16th he arrived in Leningrad accompanied by two emissaries especially chosen by the Jewish community of Kastroma. Because of the aforementioned danger, only a brief stay in Leningrad was planned.

The Rebbe's Latvian Passport.
The Rebbe's Latvian Passport.

That Shabbat the Rebbe was called up to the Torah and recited the benediction of Hagomel — the blessing to G‑d for release from dangerous straits. At the kiddush after the services the Rebbe delivered another Maamar bearing the same title as the one he delivered in Kastroma, this time elaborating and explaining at greater length the concepts of the first discourse.

At the Sabbath meal, celebrated also as a seudat hoda'ah (a feast of thanksgiving as required by Jewish law when one is saved from peril) the Rebbe delivered another MaamarLift Up Your Hands in Sanctity.

In a letter about these events, the Rebbe writes:

The Rebbe's immigration papers.
The Rebbe's immigration papers.

The great clamor in the land, the prayers and supplications through the recitation of Psalms day and night in hundreds of cities, and the proclamation of fast days, all these were heard in the loftiest of Heavens, and G‑d influenced the hearts of judges to ease their verdict. During the first ten days of my imprisonment, word of my arrest reached the highest levels of government here, as well as in the officialdom of foreign lands. It appears that influence from abroad strongly affected the leaders of this country in their final decision.

Many years later, on the 12th of Tammuz of 1945, the Rebbe declared:

I was confined for nineteen days. At such a time one is subject to the ordeal of controlling one's eyes, sealing one's ears, and desisting from speech. In that period of my life, I lost all sense of gratification that is derived from material things, not only for a while, but permanently. Then I did not think of myself at all.

While on the train that would take him out of Soviet Russia for good, the Rebbe penned this heartfelt letter to his chassidim.
While on the train that would take him out of Soviet Russia for good, the Rebbe penned this heartfelt letter to his chassidim.

What thoughts could I have about myself while being constantly confronted with the fragility of life? I heard the begging of the prisoners, pleading for life, only to see them taken out to be shot ten minutes later. My own idea then was that the initial decay of a seed is a preliminary necessity for later flourishing and growth. I never experienced a sense of solitude; I was always mindful of the fact that I possessed revered ancestors: my father, grandfather, great grandfather, and all the luminous, holy figures whose courage and merit would endure eternally. I reflected on my father's discourse, She Girds Her Loins With Strength which I had heard fifty years before in 5655 (1895).