The New York City Council voted Thursday to rename a stretch of Boro Park’s 50th Street in honor of Harav Michoel Ber Weissmandl, zt”l, the hero of Hatzalah during and after WWII and son-in-law of the Nitra Rav and Rosh Yeshivah, Harav Shmuel Dovid Ungar, Hy”d.
Councilman David Greenfield, a Democrat representing the area, sponsored the bill that the portion of 50th Street between 14th and 15th avenues be renamed “Weissmandl Way.” The City will install a permanent street sign commemorating the Rav and his extraordinary life.
This would be the second street-renaming that Greenfield arranged. In 2013, he led an initiative to have a portion of 13th Avenue in Boro Park renamed “Raoul Wallenberg Way” in honor of the Swedish diplomat’s efforts during World War II to save as many as 100,000 Hungarian Jews from the Nazis.
Harav Weissmandl, who was niftar in 1957, dedicated his life to saving Europe’s Jews by leading the Working Group in its attempt to delay the mass deportation of Jews, attempting to stop the “Final Solution” and helping Jewish refugees who had escaped from Poland and Slovakia.
Harav Weissmandl also left an indelible mark on communities throughout New York. He reestablished the Nitra Yeshivah in 1946, first in New Jersey and then in Mount Kisco. In the time since, Nitra shuls have been established in many communities, including in Boro Park, Williamsburg and Monsey.
“Rabbi Weissmandl was an genuine hero, a great talmid chacham and leader for thousands of Jews throughout the world,” Greenfield said in a statement. “Renaming [50th Street] … is the least we can do in tribute.”
A ceremony to unveil the new street name will be announced later this summer.