Rabbi Schneur Zalman Schneerson

This is the story of an orthodox Jewish rescuer in the south of France who managed to save more than one hundred children during the worst time of persecution – after the German occupation of Vichy France. This rabbi from the Chabad movement was not about to give up his religious principles, his adherence to the letter of the Halakha, his missionary drive of turning his charges into religiously observant and halakha-literate Jews, or his in-your-face Jewishness. He didn’t give up his Hassidic garb, his hat, his beard (red), his side locks, and was not shy of speaking French with a strong Russian accent to those in authority. But he did, in order to finance the rescue of the children from Hell, go into debt the collateral of which was his Paris apartment and other possessions, after the war. Employing these unorthodox means, barely acceptable by related organizations, the rabbi and his family themselves survived the war, immigrating to New York where his children and grandchildren now live.

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