In the year 1927, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Shneersohn, the previous Rebbe, was arrested by the GPU and Yevesektsia (Jewish section of the Communist Party), for spreading and teaching Judaism in Soviet Russia.
Throughout the beginning of his arrest, he insisted on getting his Talis (prayer shawl) and Tefillin, and made a hunger strike, despite his frail body condition, until the prison agreed and handed it to him.
He only spoke in Yiddish, and refused to speak or answer them in Russian. During one of the intense and cruel interrogations, held by 2 Jews from the Yevsekitsia, Lulav and Nachmanson, they yelled at him, and swung their revolver in front of the Rebbe saying:” This toy has made many talk!”. The Rebbe, unafraid answered : ” Only people with 2 gods and one world will fear , but I who have one G-d, and 2 worlds, am not afraid one bit.”
He was sentenced G-d forbid to be shot to death within 24 hours.
Due to huge international pressure, the sentence was changed to 10 years exile and hard labor. On the 3rd of Tamuz the sentence was changed a 2nd time to 3 years exile to Kastrama.
The previous Rebbe was supposed to leave Thursday, but then would arrive on Shabbat in Kastrama. He told the Russian guards that he will travel only after Shabbat. Infuriated they told him, that he might lose this only chance of getting out, and they will keep him in prison, but the Rebbe refused. In the end, right after Shabbat, he was let out of prison, and allowed to go home for 6 hours to organize his things for the trip to Kastrama. The Russian goverment miraculously agreed to Rabbi Shneersohn’s request to take with him all his Torah books. This was an unprecendented thing, to arrest someone because of teaching Judaism, then to let him take all this religious material.
After about 10 days in Kastrama, when he came to report to the government office, he was told that he is completely free.
This was an incredible victory for the Jewish people.
Shortly afterwards, Rabbi Y.Y. Shneersohn left Russia for Poland, and remained there for 10 years. He arrived in America in 1940. Right when he came he said :” America is no different” and started his Spiritual Revolution, establishing countless schools and educational institutions and programs for young and old. He started a Jewish publishing house, and newspaper.
The Rebbe’s imprisonment was for 27 days, on the 12 -13th of Tamuz was completely freed.
Today we celebrate this holy day, with the sincere faith that just as G-d liberated the Rebbe, so too we will be liberated from this exile, in the merit of all the good deeds and self sacrifice of the Rebbe and the Jewish People.
In the picture above is the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Shneersohn, to the right. To the left, the Rebbe.