The Plan of Action & the Secret Plans
December 20, 2016
Beis Moshiach in #1049, Chabad History, Jewish Refugee Crisis, Russia

Pirsum Rishon: A Budget Proposal for Chabad Lubavitch Activities in Europe, signed by the Frierdiker Rebbe * Among the budget items: The Yeshiva & the Girls’ Schools, Evening Classes, School for Shchita, Milah, Safrus, Etc. * Regarding the Jews in Russia: Supporting the undercover religious activities carried on by these people * Sixth Installment

Throughout 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, and later with the help of Rabbi Binyamin Gorodetsky, worked tirelessly to assist the refugees in resettling them in a new country, providing for them with means to support their families, and ensuring all their religious needs are met.

This sixth installment presents a budget proposal submitted by Lubavitch to the officers of the American Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), which give a glimpse into the vast scope of work that Lubavitch did in Europe, including a secret budget item which was sent separately… This budget was signed by the Frierdiker Rebbe.

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).

The Frierdiker Rebbe’s Letter

On Iyar 22 5709 (May 23, 1949) The Frierdiker Rebbe sent a letter to Dr. Joseph Schwartz (JDC Director – Europe) thanking him for his help, and attaching the budget proposal prepared by his personal representative to Europe, Rabbi Binyamin Eliyahu Gorodetsky:

My dear Dr. Schwartz:

Rabbi Benjamin Gorodetzky, my personal representative and director of my European office for Refugee Aid, has reported to me in detail of his conversation with you.

I was highly gratified to hear of your sympathetic and understanding attitude towards the refugee aid program conducted under my auspices.

Submitted herewith is the monthly budget of this program, with explanatory notes, and I am confident that the budget will receive your early and kind attention and will be confirmed in full, since it represents a bare minimum.

Once again I thank you for your consistent and effective cooperation in the past and present.

I send you my prayerful wishes for your good health and success in all your undertakings.

With blessings for your material and spiritual welfare,

Rabbi Joseph I. Schneersohn


Schools, Classes, Training and… Packages to Russia

Attached to this letter was a three page budget description, detailing the work of Chabad in Europe, and the minimal amount of money needed to continue this vital work:



1. Yeshivoth (Gedoloth and Ketanoth):

Both Students and personnel are mostly refugees, receiving full support – $3,500.00

2. Children’s Home for Girls, and Girls’ Schools “Beth Rivkah” and “Beth Sarah”:

The Home is exclusively for refugee children, fully maintained. The students and personnel of the Schools are mostly refugees, receiving likewise full support – $2,000.00

Additional Note: The Girls’ Schools provide both religious and secular instruction.

3. Talmud Torahs:

This educational program includes also visiting teachers in private homes. The program is expanding rapidly, with highly promising results. Present expenditure – $1,000.00

4. Tifereth Bachurim:

Evening classes for youths occupied during the day. Program expanding. Present expenditure – $500.00

5. Beth Medrash l’Rabbonim:

Training school for Rabbis, Shochetim, Menakrim, Soferim, Mohelim. Both students and staff are mostly refugees, receiving full support. Importance and public service of this program has been amply demonstrated in the Ireland, Denmark and Marseilles programs – $2,000.00

6. Educational and religious program of field representatives visiting various cities and lands in Europe – $1,000.00

7. Distribution and supply of religious articles and educational literature:

Tefillin, Tzitzith, Mezuzoth, Sifrei Torah, etc. Text books, educational literature in four languages – $2,000.00

Additional Note: The religious articles and educational literature refer to those produced and published by the “Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch” and the “Kehot Publication Society” under the auspices and personal supervision of Rabbi Joseph I. Schneersohn.

8. Aid to European Jewry behind the Iron Curtain:

In the form of packages of clothes and food, at $40 minimum per clothes package, and $15 minimum per food and medicine package, in quantities of 100 and 80 packages respectively, to fill a minimum urgent and imperative need – $5,200.00

Additional Note: The packages refer to new clothing and items of a kind which we know from personal knowledge go farthest in aid.

9. Regular Aid to refugees in general and refugee clergy in particular:

Aid to over 300 persons not included in any of the refugee aid programs enumerated above – $5,500.00

Additional Note: The refugees in general and refugee clergy in particular referred to, are those who have been under our special care from the start.

Total minimum monthly expenditure – $22,700.00


The Undercover Religious Activities

In the same envelope as the budget proposal was an additional letter, which was submitted separately, regarding the aid to Russian Jews:

Confidential. Not for the Record.

Additional Note to Submitted Budget

Item #8: I wish to make the following special explanatory observation regarding this part of our program.

The aid to our people behind the Iron Curtain is important and essential notwithstanding the attempt – for political expediency – to create the impression that no help is needed.

We have first hand information and contact with our brethren behind the Curtain and know how vital this help is to them. Moreover, it is not only a matter of physical sustenance to them, but also the sole means of supporting the undercover religious activities carried on by these people, in the same way as we used to do it. It is only thanks to these selfless men that Jewish life is still maintained in those parts of Europe. Indeed, this item includes help to families whose breadwinners have been banished to Siberia for precisely this kind of work.

This part of the budget, therefore, like all the rest is of a most urgent nature, requiring approval in full and at the earliest possible date.

Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (
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