Many in Boro Park speculate that a clip from the horror days of World War II includes the Previous Bobover Rebbe – Rav Ben Zion Halberstam (1874–1941) HY”D.
The Rebbe, they say, is seen being beaten by The Ukrainians under Nazi occupation, 3 days before being brutally murdered.
The original clip is from Steven Spielberg‘s video archive and contains the following information:
Title: Original German 8mm Film of Atrocities Against Jews
Event Date: 1941
Place: Lvov, Poland
Description: Jews rounded up in Lvov, Poland. Victims tortured, pulled along ground; Jews lined up around building.
This 8 mm German film was used as exhibit in the Nuremberg IMT (German War Crimes Trials PS-3052), screened in the courtroom 13 December 1945. See “Nuremberg and Its Lesson” at NARA.
Source: National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), 238.7
According to a note on National Archives and Records Administration story card, “This is 8mm footage captured by U.S. Army in SS barracks in Augsburg, Germany.” The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum purchased a copy from the National Archives and Records Administration in June 1991. The footage was obtained as research for the Museum’s Permanent Exhibition.”
Indeed, on July 25 of 1941 Parshas Matos-Masei, on Rosh Chodesh Av, at about 6pm while the Rebbe was removing his Rabbeinu Tam’s Tefillin, the door opened suddenly and a Ukrainian youth entered together with the building’s gentile superintendent. The youth carried a red whip with the insignia of the Symon Petliura bands. The two were conducting a search of the house where the Rebbe was hiding.
The youth took one look at the Rebbe and immediately realized that this was a distinguished personage. He ordered the Rebbe to accompany him. The Rebbe’s youngest son, Moshe Aaron, saw his father being led away, and pleaded to come along to help his father. At first the Ukrainian youth objected, but then he acceded and took along Moshe Aaron.
They were joined on the street corner by other distinguished prisoners from other areas in the city. Soldiers stood guard to prevent escape. When the number of captives reached a hundred, the guards arranged them in a row, three abreast, and ordered them to march.
The Rebbe was too weak to keep up with the rapid pace and moved to the back. The guards beat him with their batons and demanded that he hurry up. Eliyahu Avigdor held one of his hands and his son Moshe Aaron held the other until they reached Gestapo headquarters at Polczinski 4.
An eye-witness writes that “he saw from his window how the Rebbe, dressed in his Sabbath clothing was attacked by the soldiers. The cruel Ukrainians beat him on his head with their rifle-butts and his yarmulke fell to the ground. From time to time the Rebbe bent over and stooped to pick it up, and they beat him even more.”
After three days, on Monday Parshas Devarim, Daled Av (July 28); four weeks after the Germans entered Lemberg; the Jewish captives were shot in the Yanover forest behind the city. 20,000 Jews were shot that day, the Rebbe, his son and his three sons-in-law included. (Source).
No one can positively confirm that this is the Rebbe but those who are officially experts on these matters (deal with pictures etc.) have reportedly said they are confident it is the Rebbe.
WARNING! disturbing images: