This Day in History – 22 Adar II/March 24

22 Adar II

In 5109/1349, the Jews of Uberlingen, Switzerland, were massacred al kiddush Hashem. Hy”d.

In 5190/1430, a miracle happened in the kehillah of Rome. When the authorities decreed that every Jew must either convert or be killed, an earthquake rocked the city and the decree was annulled.

In 5693/1933, the infamous Dachau concentration camp was established in Germany. The camp, one of the first established by the Nazis, was originally designated as a prison camp for political criminals. After Kristallnacht, the number of Jews imprisoned there kept growing until over 200,000 victims passed through its gates, most of whom perished. The Nazis built a gas chamber in Dachau, but it was never used. This concentration camp was liberated in April of 1945 by the U.S. army.

In 5708/1948, 16 Jewish soldiers were lynched by an Arab mob; six of them were brutally beaten to death. Hy”d.

In 5757/1997, seven Jewish students were killed on the border with Jordan. Hy”d.


 

Yahrtzeiten

5489/1729, Harav Eliyahu of Izmir, zt”l, mechaber of Shevet Mussar.

5662/1902, Harav Yaakov of Novominsk, zt”l.

5763/2003, Harav Yisrael Moshe Dushinsky, zt”l, Gaavad of the Eidah Hachareidis of Yerushalayim.


 

5718/1958
Harav Reuven Grozovsky, zt”l
Rosh Yeshivas Torah Vodaath

 

Harav Reuven Grozovsky (known as Reuven Minsker) was born in 5656/1896. His father, Harav Shamshon, was the leading Dayan of Minsk, Belarus.

He learned in Yeshivah Knesses Yisrael in Slabodka, under Harav Moshe Mordechai Epstein and Harav Nosson Zvi Finkel (the Alter of Slabodka).

When still young, Reb Reuven began his lifelong campaign to save bnei Torah from the trends of the time. The ideas of Zionism, Socialism and freedom from the yoke of Torah were devastating to the yeshivos, and destructive to the spiritual essence of the ben Torah. Minsk was a center of operations for all political parties. Reb Reuven fought his own private campaign against them.

As a student in Slabodka,  then still part of Czarist Russia, he recruited bnei Torah from his hometown of Minsk to join him, because in Slabodka there was less danger of turning “sour.” One such recruit was Yankel Dolinover, whose family had moved to Minsk from Dolinov. He was an unusually bright youngster and to this day, Klal Yisrael benefits from that Yankel — better known as Harav Yaakov Kamenetzky, zt”l. Another of Reb Reuven’s charges in Slabodka was the iluy Arke Sislovtser, whom he brought to Slabodka at the age of 15. Years later, Arke was known as Harav Aharon Kotler, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivah, Beis Medrash Govoha.

When another Yankel Dolinover (cousin of the first one) arrived in Slabodka, the Alter asked Reb Reuven to learn with him, for the Alter knew that the teenager had promise of greatness, and trusted Reb Reuven to guide him. Today he is known as Harav Yaakov Ruderman, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivah of Ner Yisrael in Baltimore.

In 5679/1919, Reb Reuven became the son-in-law of Harav Baruch Ber Leibowitz, zt”l. He moved with him from the Vilna suburb of Lukishuk, where Reb Baruch Ber had maintained his yeshivah, to Kamenitz, where the yeshivah they led flourished until World War II.

Reb Reuven eventually became the Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivas Kamenitz. Though he carried the financial burden of the yeshivah, he never missed delivering his weekly shiur.

During World War II, Reb Reuven escaped the Holocaust with a group of his talmidim, landing on the West Coast, in Seattle, Washington.

He went on to New York, where he joined Harav Aharon Kotler and Harav Avraham Kalmanowitz, zt”l, in the lobbying and fund-raising efforts of the Vaad Hatzalah, to save Jews from the Nazis. He also brought 110 members of the Kamenitz community to safety — 30 to Eretz Yisrael and the rest to New York, where he set up the Kamenitz Kollel on the Lower East Side.

After the petirah of Harav Shlomo Heiman, zt”l, Reb Reuven was asked by Harav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz, zt”l, to head Yeshivah Torah Vodaath in Brooklyn, New York. He was simultaneously Rosh Yeshivah of Beis Medrash Elyon in Monsey.

Six years before his passing, Reb Reuven suffered a stroke. Nonetheless, he remained mentally alert and was able to learn until his petirah on 22 Adar 5718/1958, at the age of 62.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


 

March 24

In 1765, Britain enacted the Quartering Act, requiring American colonists to provide temporary housing to British soldiers.

In 1832, a mob in Hiram, Ohio, attacked, tarred and feathered Mormon leaders Joseph Smith Jr. and Sidney Rigdon.

In 1882, German scientist Robert Koch announced in Berlin that he had discovered the bacillus responsible for tuberculosis.

In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill granting future independence to the Philippines.

In 1944, in occupied Rome, the Nazis executed more than 300 civilians in reprisal for an attack by Italian partisans the day before that had killed 32 German soldiers.

In 1976, the president of Argentina, Isabel Peron, was deposed by her country’s military.

In 1989, the supertanker Exxon Valdez ran aground on a reef in Alaska’s Prince William Sound and began leaking an estimated 11 million gallons of crude oil.

In 1999, NATO launched airstrikes against Yugoslavia, marking the first time in its 50-year existence that it had ever attacked a sovereign country.