By Rabbi Michael Dov Weismandel
By Rabbi Meir Kahane
On May 15, 1944, in a cave near Lvov, Poland, a man wrote a letter to the world — especially to his fellow Jews in the free world, and, most especially to the huge, wealthy and potent community of Jews in America. The man was named Rabbi Michael Dov Weismandel and he sits today in Paradise in a special corner reserved for only the purest and most saintly of men. He lived the entire Holocaust in Slovakia and Poland, and if someone who saves one life in Israel is considered as having saved an entire world, then Michael Dov Weismandel saved galaxies and universes. He combined incredible ingenuity with awesome courage to save the lives of countless Jews, plucking them from the circle of death, as the blood of Ahavat Yisroel coursed through his veins. No man did more and no man knew more about the stinking crime of Jewish silence and refusal to do what had to be done, and his cries to heaven against the beasts of Germany were hardly louder than his agonizing screams and indictments of his fellow Jews.
And in that cave he wrote a letter on the day following the beginning of the deportation of Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz. In the letter he described in meticulous detail the camps, the cyanide gas, the ovens, the murder of TWELVE THOUSAND JEWS EACH AND EVERY DAY. And he stared at the Jews of the free world through his letter, each word eye-burning and condemning, staring the free world Jewish community in the soul, crying out against the silence, condemning “because you sit with folded arms and do nothing though you could stop or delay the murder of Jews at this very hour.” And he looked his fellow Jews in the heart shouted: “Our pleadings affect you less than the whimperings of a beggar. Murderers! Madmen!”
He concluded his letter with these words:
Indeed, we have already told you several times what is really happening. Is it possible that you believe the wicked murderers more than you believe us, the murdered; is this possible? May G-d open your eyes and grant you the privilege of rescuing, in this final hour, the remainder of the survivors.
And in a pathetic letter of anguish written in the late spring of 1944, the tragic figure wrote:
Our brothers, the Children of Israel! G-d has placed the lives of hundreds of thousands of the remnant in your hands. Do not lose the opportunity, do not waste time with vain discussions among yourselves. Put aside for a few days all other business, all other conversation . . . DO DEEDS! DO DEEDS! For the sake of G-d, His Torah, His people — DO DEEDS IMMEDIATELY . . . . Do not waste even one moment . . .
Murderers, madmen. Bitter, harsh and stinging words. Unfair? Were the Jews to whom the angry prophet Weismandel wrote really deserving of such words? Yes, deserving. Both those leaders who knew the truth and, for various reasons, that in their eyes seemed to be logical and reasonable, refused to do what had to be done, as well as those masses who followed their leaders because “the fathers know best . . . .” Both, ALL, madmen and murderers, and the crime is etched into their souls, and there can never be absolution for the dead of Auschwitz, the dead that need not have died.
Rabbi Meir Kahane