In The Media
The Heroic Struggle

- The Jewish Press

February 22, 2006
Reviewed by Ray Kestenbaum

The collapse of the former USSR Communist regime was soon followed by a Jewish re-identification and a sweeping resurgence of open religious observance. These striking changes followed 70 years of Soviet suppression of religion.

Religious feeling and observance had been driven underground for decades, but was kept alive by a strong "Jewish underground." At the center of the struggle for Jewish survival was the giant persona of the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzhak Schneersohn (1880-1950), of blessed memory.

It was the Previous Rebbe who led the harbozat hayahadut, the spread of Yiddishkeit, in those dark years right under the nose of the cruel, dictatorial Soviet regime. But he paid a heavy price for his activism, and that’s what this book is about. He was arrested, imprisoned and tortured several times because of his leadership and resistance to the NKVD, the Soviet secret police, and the Yevsektzia, the Communist Party’s Jewish Affairs office.

But he stood firm in his religious conviction and opposed the tyranny of the Soviet authorities. The Rebbe’s resistance to the Communist gangsters was capped in 1927 when he was arrested for "counter-revolutionary activity" and jailed. However, international pressure resulted in his release and later his banishment from Russia.

In remembrance of the Rebbe’s heroic acts, the Chassidic community marks the 12th and 13th of Tammuz as the days commemorating his ordeal, and celebrating his release. Even after he left Russia he continued to lead the Jewish resistance from abroad. Ultimately his activities laid the foundation for the current Jewish revival, which took place under the leadership of his son-in-law and successor, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.

The previous Rebbe recorded the events of his arrest and the days that followed and put together a compendium of events, but years later in Poland during his flight from the Nazis, the booklet was lost. Rabbi Menachem Mendel, however, was able to retrieve the story by painstakingly copying his father-in-law’s notes.

The Heroic Struggle is based on Rabbi Menachem Mendel’s copied narrative. After Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak arrived in the U.S. he thanked his son-in-law for saving the historic notes. They are a rich source, providing insight into the many facets of a deeply spiritual personality.

The book describes in remarkable detail the process of terror and the courage that the Rebbe mustered up in the face of his captors. Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak often said that he took notes to share them with his followers to show how chassidus offers courage and spiritual support to those who are subjected to physical and mental tortures.

The current Russian-language book, The Heroic Struggle, is a revision of the original book and includes in it Rabbi Dr. Alter B. Metzger’s appendices, which provide samples of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak’s writings and discourses and those of his successor on the spiritual significance of imprisonment. It could be a life-enhancing gift for readers of Russian in the Jewish community.

The main section of this book was originally published by FREE in 1980 under the title "Notations of the Arrest" (Reshimat Hama’aser). In the English original several appendices were added. They were written by Rabbi Dr. Alter B. Metzger. The book was published by Kehot in 1999.

Click here to view a PDF of The Heroic Struggle
This Book is available online at FREE Publishing House Bookstore.

Back to Top

In the Media
 The First Night
Lubavitch.com
 The First Night
TheBrooklynInk.com
 Lighting A Fire In The Snow
The Jewish Press
 A Bar Mitzvah in Brooklyn
Lubavitch.com
 The Auspicious Reunion
The Jewish Press
 Russian Jews and The Matzah Factor
Lubavitch News Service
 Rambam Writings In Russian
The Jewish Press
 Congregants Welcome Torah Home
Bay Ridge Courier
 Festival of Lights Shines Over Borough
Courier Life Publications
 Congregants Rejoice In New Scrolls
Courier Life Publications
 Brooklyn Is Showered With Hanukkah Gelt
Courier Life Publications
 Russian F.R.E.E. Choir
Jewish Family Services
 Russians
Encyclopedia of Chicago
 Jan Peerce at Carnegi
New York Times
 Melting pot of Jewish film
Australian Jewish News
 Renewing ties with their religion
Jewish Independent
 Abiding act of faith
The Washington Times
 The Heroic Struggle
The Jewish Press
 The Kindest Cut of All
Urban Gazette
 A Welcome for Refugees
Daily News
 Hanukkah Festivities
The New York Times
 Freedom For the Free
Algemeiner Journal
 9 Russian Jews Baptized
The Jewish Press
 A Nine Year Old Hero
Algemeiner Journal
 Rite for Jewish Males
New York Times
 FREE Services Russians
The Jewish Press
 A Rally of Their Own
The Jewish Week
 Sept. 11: One year later
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
 Russian Jews find home at center
The Cincinnati Post
 Interfaith and FREE celebrate 10,000 bris mila
New Directions (Interfaith Medical Center)
 Helping Hands
New York Newsday
 The Cutting Edge
Baltimore Jewish Times
 Benefit Concert For F.R.E.E.
The Jewish Press
 Rite of Passage
Waverley Council Mayor's Column
 The 10,000th Circumcision
The Flatbush Life
Hebrew
 And it was in the days of Achashveyrosh - Hebrew
Kfar Chabad Magazine
 The FREE organization - Hebrew
Dedushka
 FREE Publishing House - Hebrew
Kfar Chabad
 From Russia to Brooklyn... - Hebrew
Haaretz
Yiddish
 Celebration 85 - Yiddish
Algemeiner Journal
 FREE opens New Synagogue in Brighton Beach - Yiddish
Algemeiner Journal
 3000 Russian Immigrats at Purim Celebration - Yiddish
Algemeiner Journal
 Dinner of Friends of Refugees - Yiddish
Algemeiner Journal
 FREE - Friends of Russian Jewry - Yiddish
Kol Boro Park
 Report on The Dinner of The Friends of Refugees - Yiddish
Algemeiner Journal
 Reb Nocum Preger is Honored at FREE’s Dinner - Yiddish
Algemeiner Journal
 Much dancing at a joyfulness celebration - Yiddish
Algemeiner Journal
Russian
 Gold Chanuka - Russian
Lechaim.ru
 Holiday for Torah in Crown Heights - Russian
Vecherniy New York
 Immigrants' Celebration - Russian
Novoye Russoe Slovo
 Yud Shvat - Russian
Novoye Russoe Slovo
About Us
F.R.E.E. Newsletter
Stay informed by subscribing to F.R.E.E.'s e-mail updates.
Site Tools
 
© 2003-2016 Cong. Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe. All rights reserved.