This is a translation of one of a series of four letters centering on the rescue of the Previous Rebbe from Warsaw in the midst of the Nazi invasion of Poland. While living in Paris, the Rebbe relayed information from Reb Chayim Lieberman, the Previous Rebbe’s secretary, who was in Riga where contact with the Previous Rebbe in Poland was possible, to Rabbi Yisrael Jacobson in New York who headed the rescue efforts in the U.S. Because of the constraints of communication in wartime, the letter was originally composed in French.

Paris, 17/11/1939
[5 Kislev, 5700]

Dear Rabbi,

Today, I received a letter from Mr. Lieberman, and with immediate dispatch, I am informing you of its contents.

The Shmotkin house in Warsaw where my father1 and his family were living was totally destroyed by a large fire. Thank G‑d, [the family] are all safe and sound.

In the fire, all their belongings were destroyed. It would appear that they do not have any clothing to shield them from the cold.

(They had the courage to save all the manuscripts. The library remained in Otvotzk.)

From this time onward, they are living with Mr. Hirsh Gurary.

I am certain that you, dear Rabbi, are doing all you can to help them, and are trying — and in light of their situation, this is of primary importance — to enable them to be extricated [from that country] in the most immediate future.

With the deepest wishes of friendship,

M. Schneerson