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Tuesday
Dec132016

The Irish Kosher Meat Project

The Lubavitcher are … the most disciplined religious group in Europe today as well as the most Orthodox” * Chief Rabbi Herzog Fully Approves the Lubavitcher Shochtim * The Shochtim “received their training at the famous Lubavitz Rabbinical Seminary in Poland, noted for its strict adherence to Jewish tradition” * Fifth Installment

In the last installments we presented the efforts of the Frierdiker Rebbe to assist the thousands of Chabad Chassidim who escaped Russia with Polish passports and were stranded in European DP Camps. The Frierdiker Rebbe, with the help of his son-in-law the Rashag, began to work on resettling them in a new country, and providing for them with means to support themselves and their families.

This fifth installment presents the story of the “The Irish Kosher Meat Project,” a project of the JDC in conjunction with the Ireland government, which donated millions of pounds of beef to refugees in Europe. This project created jobs for many Chabad Chassidim who travelled to Ireland to slaughter cows for the Jews in Europe. This project was managed by Rabbi Binyomin Eliyahu Gorodetsky, who served as the personal representative of the Frierdiker Rebbe to coordinate the refugee work in Europe.

These fascinating documents are part of the JDC Archives (which were digitized and uploaded online, thanks to a grant from Dr. Georgette Bennett and Dr. Leonard Polonsky CBE).

Lubavitch Offers Their Services

The first reference to the Shchita plan is found in a letter dated April 16th 1947 [26 Nissan 5707] from Mr. Melvin Goldstein (JDC Paris) to Mr. Robert Briscoe from Ireland, which includes Rabbi Gorodetzky’s offer:

This is in reference to your letter of April 10th regarding the Kosher Beef which is likely to be produced some time in June.

I have just returned from a meeting with Rabbi Sachs and I also saw Rabbi Brissman today. They have had a number of meetings with their people in Paris during the last week but they find that they are unable to arrange for the necessary number of Shochtim, Mashgichim and Triber.

However, Rabbi Gorodetsky, of the Lubavitcher Chassidim, was in to see us the other day after we met with Rabbi Brissman and Rabbi Sachs. Rabbi Gorodetsky assures me that among the Lubavitcher group in Germany and Austria he can recruit the people we need. The Lubavitcher, you will wish to note, are a most orthodox and disciplined group and we have no doubt but that they would be acceptable to the Chief Rabbi Herzog. The difficulty, however, will be to bring them into France and arrange for the issuance of the necessary documents. We believe, however, that the matter can be worked out…

 

The Most Disciplined & The Most Orthodox

Two days later, on April 18th 1947 [28 Nissan 5707], Mr. Goldstein sends another letter to Mr. Briscoe with more details about this venture:

This is to confirm our today’s cable reading as follows:

RABBI GORODETZKY OF LUBAVITCHER CHASSIDIM ARRANGING PROVIDE LUBAVITCHER SHOCHTIM, ETC. WHO MOST ORTHODOX. ORDER SLAUGHTER, PREPARE HUNDRED [AND] FIFTY ANIMALS DAILY. GORODETZKY CLAIMS NECESSARY [TO] EMPLOY FIVE SHOCHTIM, FIVE OR SIX TRIBER, PLUS FIVE MASHGICHIM OF WHOM TWO OR THREE WOULD SUPERVISE CANNERY OPERATION.

DO YOU AGREE TOTAL FIFTEEN PERSONS?

ENTIRE GROUP [IS] NOW [IN] GERMANY AND AUSTRIA, THEREFORE STARTING NOW OBTAIN NECESSARY VISAS.

WE ADVISING RABBI HERZOG.

I met with Rabbi Gorodetzky again yesterday afternoon and we agreed that he should provide the Shochtim and other workers to prepare the kosher meat. The Lubavitcher are, as I have already mentioned, the most disciplined religious group in Europe today as well as the most Orthodox. At first Rabbi Gorodetzky wanted us to permit the men to bring their families to Ireland but we replied that this was impossible. He then asked whether some of the people might remain in Ireland and I told him that I did not think anything could be arranged in this connection and he promised me that his people would leave Ireland when their work is finished. It is, of course, understood that if one or two of them could obtain employment there and obtain official permission to remain in Ireland then we would have no objection.

The Lubavitcher are now in Germany and Austria. Rabbi Gorodetzky has to provide us with the personal data of the people who are to go to Ireland and I expect to have this information some time before sundown…

The List of Workers

Three days later, on April 21st 1947 [1 Iyar 5707] Rabbi Binyomin Gorodetzky submitted a letter to Mr. Melvin Goldstein (JDC Paris) with a list of the potential Shochtim, Trieber and Mashgichim, and from them a list of 15 were chosen, and the list submitted to Ireland for processing:

List of Names of Persons for whom Irish Visas are requested

1) Pinchos Klein (Linz, Austria)

2) Yehoshua Raskin (Linz, Austria)

3) Boruch Shifrin (Salzburg, Austria)

4) Gabriel Kahan (Linz, Austria)

5) Uziel Chazanow (Salzburg, Austria)

6) Shmuel Yosef Pindrik (Munich, Germany)

7) Shmuel Reitzes (Munich, Germany)

8) Boruch Lepkivker (Munich, Germany)

9) Shmuel Grossman (Linz, Austria)

10) Yisroel Kalmanson (Munich, Germany)

11) Mordechai Schusterman (Munich, Germany)

12) Gutman Baras  (Munich, Germany)

13) Berl Vichnin (Salzburg, Austria)

14) Shimon Shtillerman (Salzburg, Austria)

15) Yisroel Lasse (Munich, Germany)

All persons named above were born in Poland

 

Rabbi Herzog Approves The Lubavitcher Shochtim

On April 20th 1947 [30 Nissan 5707] the JDC  offices in Paris received a cable from the secretary of Israel’s Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Herzog (who previously served as the Chief Rabbi of Ireland) approving the Lubavitcher Shochtim:

FROM: RABBI HERZOG JERUSALEM

TO: JOINTFUND PARIS

SENT: 20 APR 1947

REC: 21 APR 1947

CHIEF RABBI FULLY APPROVES LUBAVITCHER SHOCHET

SECRETARIAT CHIEF RABBI HERZOG

Throughout the following months, the Ireland representative arranged visas for the 15 Chassidim, and they relocated to Paris where they waited for a date to go to Ireland to start working.

JDC: We Need 6 More

On September 9th 1947 [24 Elul 5707] Mr. Goldstein sends a letter to the Emigration Department, stating the need for 6 additional Shochtim, bringing the total to 21, and listing the six additional Shochtim:

This is in reference to our previous correspondence regarding the Irish Kosher Meat Project.

Thus far we understand that you have arranged for 15 people in Germany and Austria to obtain exit and re-entry permits so that they may go to Ireland to prepare the meat.

We have been in touch with Mr. Briscoe who, as you know, is handling the project for us in Dublin. He now advises that the cattle should be ready for slaughtering about the 6th of October although, of course, this date is not definite.

A total of 21 persons will be necessary to do the job. Thus far only 15 have been chosen. Rabbi Gorodetzky of the Lubavitcher has now gives us the names of 6 additional persons. Attached hereto is the list.

We will appreciate it if you will make the necessary arrangements for the first 5 people on this list to obtain exit and re-entry permits…

Attached to this letter was the list of six Shochtim:

1) Eliyahu Haft (Wegsheid, Austria)

2) Hirsch Lieberman (Wegsheid, Austria)

3) Leib Edelman (Wegsheid, Austria)

4) Ber Grossbaum (Wegsheid, Austria)

5) Mendel Dubrawsky (Poking, Germany)

6) Meir Charlow (c/o Rabbi Gorodetzky Paris)

One Million Pounds of Beef for Refugees

The starting date got delayed, and finally towards the end of 1948 the Shochtim were able to travel to Ireland to begin working. By the time they came, their group swelled to 30 workers plus 4 who were training. The following Press Release from the JDC, dated September 24th 1948 [20 Elul 5708] describes this project and the reason for the delay:

The first consignments of one million pounds of meat contributed by the government of Eire for distribution among Jewish displaced persons in Europe is being specially prepared in Dublin by 27 orthodox Jewish schochtim (livestock slaughterers) to meet the requirements of Jewish dietary law, it was reported by the Joint Distribution Committee, major American agency aiding distressed Jews overseas.

The shochtim recruited by JDC in the DP camps of Germany and Austria and in other European lands, will remain in Eire for three months to supervise the processing of the Meat in the Jewish tradition. All costs of the project will be borne by JDC, which receives funds for its overseas relief, resettlement and reconstruction activities from the $250,000,000 campaign of the United Jewish Appeal.

JDC field representatives in the DP camps will distribute the meat as part of JDC’s extensive food distribution in the camps, which supplements IRO rations.

In addition to the 1,000,000 pounds of meat to be distributed among Jewish DP’s, the Irish government has contributed 2,000,000 additional pounds of meat to the International Red Cross for general relief use in Europe, it was disclosed. Tin for packing all 3,000,000 pounds of meat has been provided by JDC, which also obtained special equipment for Irish canneries and slaughter houses for handling the assignment.

The group of 27 orthodox Jews now in Dublin received their training at the famous Lubavitz Rabbinical Seminary in Poland, noted for its strict adherence to Jewish tradition.

Initial arrangements for the Irish contribution towards Jewish relief in Europe were made two years ago in Dublin following conversations between Rabbi Isaac Herzog, Chief Rabbi of Israel; Dr. Joseph J. Schwartz of New York, JDC European Chairman; and Irish government officials, including Robert Briscoe, Irish-Jewish leader and member of the Eire Dail, which approved the proposal. Rabbi Herzog was Chief Rabbi of Ireland from 1925 to 1936.

Eire’s relief contribution to both JDC and the Red Cross was delayed until enough tin plate could be obtained to pack the meat, JDC officials said, JDC was able to purchase 300 tons of tin plate in the United States last year and donated it to the Irish relief program. This is enough to pack 3,000,000 pounds of meat.

The 1,000,000 pounds of meat will be distributed by JDC as soon as the canning is completed, JDC officials stated. They pointed out that in the first eight months of this year, JDC shipped almost 40,000,000 pounds of food, over 5,500,000 pounds of clothing and 2,300,000 pounds of other relief supplies to Europe under its aid program. These shipments are in addition to large quantities of provisions obtained in Europe by JDC staff members.

Characterizing the gift of the Irish Government as a “praiseworthy humanitarian action,” Dr. Joseph J. Schwartz, JDC’s European Chairman, currently in New York, said, “The Irish people can be proud of their generosity. They have demonstrated a keen understanding of the vital relief needs of Europe’s Jews, and their contribution will be remembered with gratitude and joy long after the supplies have been utilized,”

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