On this same day in 1942, Metropolitan Andrei Szeptycki, a bishop with the Greek Catholic Church in Nazi-occupied Lemberg (Lwow), Poland, issued orders for the clergy in his jurisdiction to shelter Jewish children.
There, they were able to obtain visas from the Japanese consul-general in Lithuania, and made a miraculous escape across Siberia by train, arriving in Shanghai where they spent the remainder of the war years.
After the war, new Mir yeshivas were established in New York and Jerusalem, which today is the largest yeshiva in the world with over 5,000 students.
By May 1942 the remaining Jews were confined to an ancient fortress in the city and murdered.
As for the students and staff of the Mir Yeshiva, they had fled to Lithuania with the fall of Poland in 1939.
He had been bar mitzvah’ed and was proud of his Jewish identity, but had grown up eating pork and shrimp and had no problem marrying a non-Jewish girl.
I had been raised Roman Catholic, attending Mass every Sunday, until, as a teenager, I found it difficult to accept the story of the Christian savior’s birth.
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