Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka in her youth
Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka in her youth

In the autumn of 1915, during World War I, Chaya Mushka and her family fled Lubavitch and settled in Rostov. While in Rostov, Rabbi Shalom DovBer became ill, and nineteen-year- old Chaya Mushka affectionately cared for her grandfather, spending nights at his side. Before his passing in 1920, Rabbi Shalom DovBer blessed Chaya Mushka and left several Chasidic classics to her in his last will.

Her early twenties saw the intensification of the Communist war against the Jewish soul and the beginning of her father's heroic struggle. During those dark Soviet nights, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak had his daughter Chaya Mushka at his side.

Cognizant of her wisdom and strength, her father involved her in much of his work. Young Chaya Mushka was asked to secretly transport food and supplies to Rostov's underground Yeshiva, in the knowledge that she could be relied upon for her discerning judgment.

Life became increasingly dangerous for the Jews of Rostov, and in the spring of 1924 her family moved to Leningrad, where Chaya Mushka's involvement continued.

In a recently discovered document dated December 4, 1924, her father wrote:

I hereby empower citizen Chaya Moussia Yosepuvna (daughter of Yosef) Schneersohn, residing at Machovaya Street 12/22, apartment 10, to receive monies on my behalf or documents that are addressed to me, in all forms, from the government bank and all of its branches and offices, and from other banks, government or communal, or from other organizations or private persons or by telegraph.

Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka's Shabbat candlesticks
Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka's Shabbat candlesticks

Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka was 23 years old at the time.

The persecution was relentless, and in 1927 the notorious communist police came to arrest her father in their Leningrad home. Maintaining her composure, she brilliantly managed to alert the Rebbe (her husband- to-be) who was in the street, calling out: "Schneerson, guests have come to visit us!" Understanding her message, the Rebbe was quickly able to notify others to take the necessary precaution and begin the international campaign for his release.

Following his arrest and imprisonment in Leningrad, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak was exiled to Kostroma. Upon his request, she was allowed to join him for the journey. On the 12th of Tammuz, she was the bearer of good news when she notified her family in Leningrad of her father's release.

In the autumn of 1927, on the day after Simchat Torah, the Schneersohn family left the Soviet Union and moved to Riga, Latvia.