Berel
3 Kislev, 5715 [11/28/1954]

The Rebbe
The Rebbe

This day has significance for me that I need to share with someone, but unfortunately I don’t have anyone. I could do this only with my son, shlita, for I’m sure that he too remembers this day. However, I cannot discuss this subject with him.

The 3rd of Kislev is the birthday of my middle son [Berel].1 I received news about him in 1941, but since then I have heard nothing. At that time he was in Yekatrinoslav, now called Dnepropetrovsk.

I have a strong desire to write to someone, possibly to learn some information about him. But I don’t know whether I should do this.2 Maybe in time I will discover some way to accomplish this.

I couldn’t refrain from mentioning this at all. On the other hand, I feel I shouldn’t dwell on it at length so that it shouldn’t affect my health. May there be deliverance for the Jewish people, and may none experience anything negative.

This year, the 3rd of Kislev was much more difficult for me to endure than previously. I don’t know the reason, whether it’s because my health is weaker, or because there is news that several families are being permitted to leave [the USSR]. I would like to know whether he is alive somewhere, and, if not, when and how… [he passed away].

Monument for Dovber Schneerson (Erected 2006)
Monument for Dovber Schneerson (Erected 2006)

I know the address where he was last living. Rachel,3 the girl who lived with us in our home, was devoted to him like a sister, and other good friends told me they would keep an eye on him.4 I had to travel to be with my husband, of blessed memory, and I was unable to entertain any considerations other than seeking some means of saving my husband.

In 1941, while in Moscow, I was invited to stay with a family we knew from Yekatrinoslav, the Vitkins. While I was there, an acquaintance of Mr. Vitkin visited. In my presence, he mentioned that Zelig Garelik’s wife, Mek, had asked him whether perhaps he could find out where the Rebbetzin of Yekatrinoslav was. (Before leaving Yekatrinoslav, I had left a small sum of money and several other articles with Mek for safekeeping.)

But when the Vitkins heard their visitor say this, they became frightened. They wanted me to leave their home as soon as possible, and began to suspect their visitor of possibly having some sinister motive for saying it.5

Mek, the woman he mentioned, had promised me to visit Berel from time to time. But I couldn’t mention that at all, because at the time they were considering what to do with me.

Well, that’s enough. We’ll hope that G‑d shows us the right way.

Tragic life
Thursday, 26 Tevet [5715 (1955)]

Rebbetzin Chana Schneerson (1880-1964)
Rebbetzin Chana Schneerson (1880-1964)

I am no writer, and, in general, who am I and what am I? Nevertheless, I am almost always alone, and every individual is considered a “small world.”6 I have no one with me with whom to share my feelings, other than my son, long may he live in great wellbeing and success.

On the 28th of this month I turn 75 years old. This is a number that has some significance of its own in general, and particularly in light of what I have endured in recent years.

The life of my husband, of blessed memory, was tragic, and the same is true after he left this world. It would be desirable that there be some memorial to him. It appears to me that some of his writings could be published.7 But perhaps not? There are probably good reasons [why they are not being published yet].

The 2nd of Nissan in Chi’ili
2 Nissan [5715 (1955)]

Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson (1878-1944)
Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson (1878-1944)

This is the eleventh year that I am alone. Today [I feel as if] I am back in Chi’ili in 1942. Memories don’t die, and particularly memories such as these I am unwilling to forget.

In any case, the two of us, my husband and I, were sitting together at a small table knocked together from boards. Near us was a window which, whenever I could—when its light wasn’t needed—I used to cover so that my husband, of blessed memory, shouldn’t see the hogs that always roamed about there, which made him very uneasy.

Where can I find words to express what he endured that night?

He just said simply, “Today is the 2nd of Nissan.8 Oh, the Rebbe!” He sank into a reverie for an hour or more.

At that time we had no pen or ink for writing. I understood that some great and profound concept was bursting through his mind that begged to be expressed, but no one was there to whom to communicate it.

Rabbi Shalom Dovber of Lubavitch (1860 -1920)
Rabbi Shalom Dovber of Lubavitch (1860 -1920)

He did not react at all to his surroundings, as bitter as the situation was. There was nothing I could say to him, until he himself made a great effort to emerge from that world where he had been.

Indeed, he ought to have lived in very different conditions. But I don’t want to dwell on that now. By 1944 he had other Jews with whom to communicate, but no more than that…

May G‑d grant long life and success to his children. May I be able to live as I ought to live, and may Soviet Russia cause no problems.

[After Passover, 5715 (1955)]

The Rebbe
The Rebbe

It’s already past Passover, thank G‑d. It’s not easy for me to get through the holidays. As much as I reinforce myself, I’m unable to forget what has transpired in the past, or to feel good in my present situation. Naturally, I re-experience everything.

Materially, I am well taken care of, thank G‑d. I understand that this is no small matter, but in old age this becomes more and more difficult. We’ll hope that things work out well.

Thank G‑d, I enjoy much nachas from my son. May G‑d grant him strength and success.

Motzaei Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh Sivan [5715 (1955)]

All night I’ve been thinking about this, and I have a strong desire to write something about it.

After Shavuot, it will be 55 years since our marriage.9 I am reminded of that period and how it was spent. For more than a month, our whole family and close friends experienced a “wedding atmosphere.” An uncle of my husband, of blessed memory…10