Rescued from the Reich reads like a spy/suspense novel, but it is actual history, the amazing story of how the Lubavitcher Rebbe and his court were rescued from Nazi Germany.
What made this venture so remarkable— and also so successful — was the enormous web of conspirators it required: diplomats in the US State Department, Nazi officers and intelligence personnel, and remarkable coordination in the middle of a World War. Major Ernst Bloch was a key person in putting the plan together. Bloch was born of a Jewish father, and had been Aryanized by Hitler. Another key player was the head of the Abwehr, Nazi Military Intelligence, Admiral Wilhlem Canaris. Others working for this cause included New York Congressman Sol Bloom, Attorney General Benjamin Cohen, and US Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis.
Surprisingly, the initiative to rescue the Rebbe originated on the US side with, of all entities, the State Department. State was known to be closing doors in the face of Jews trying to escape the horrors of Nazism and yet they worked hard to make this operation a success.
This book raises all the right questions. Were all Nazis anti-Semites? How could people so high up in the echelons of leadership have done this? Were they dissatisfied with the policies of Hitler? Were they hoping for leniency when the war ended?
How could the State Department be so callous regarding the masses of Jews and so involved when it came to the Rebbe? There were no significant numbers of Lubavitch or Chassidic Jews in America at the time. So why?
We might never know the answers. But good for Bryan Mark Rigg for bringing up the questions.
- Exodus by Leon Uris
- The Rebbe by Samuel Heilman and Menachem Friedman
- Holocaust: Hitler and the Third Reich reading list