By COLlive reporter
Rabbi Avraham Tzvi Landa OBM, the eldest living Chossid who survived the Second World War by escaping to Shanghai, passed away on Friday, 10 Adar 1, 5779.
He was 100.
He was born in the city of Tzanz in 1918 and studied at the Lithuanian Yeshiva in Pinsk. Ridiculed for following Chassidic customs, he was ultimately expelled. Following that, he decided to write to the Rebbe Rayatz about enrolling in Yeshiva Tomchei Tmimim in Vila and was accepted.
He was known then as Heshi Palman and served as the director of Igud Talmidei Hayeshivos, an accosiation of Chassidic Yeshiva bochurim who would meet to spread Chassidus and reported to the Rebbe Rayatz.
When the Second World War broke out and Lithuania was conquered by Russia, he managed to escape Kobe, Japan, and later to Shanghai, China, where they stayed with the rest of the war. He is the last survivor of this famous group of students.
In 5706, Avraham Zvi Landau arrived in the United States and learned the besides for a single brother, his entire family was murdered by the Nazis. The Rebbe Rayatz has since served as a fatherly figure for him and guided him in key moments in his life.
He first lived in the Brownsville neighborhood in Brooklyn in the home of Rabbi Mordechai Avrohom Yeshaya Groner. He then married Chaya Klein, who survived the Holocaust as well.
For a few years following his wedding, he ran Yeshiva Achei Tmimim in New Haven, Connecticut, and later served as the first chairman of the Lubavitch Youth Organization (“Tzach”) in New York.
Rabbi Landa worked as a bookbinder for a living and once was asked by the Rebbe to bind the Tehillim used by Rebbetzin Chana Schneerson. He also wrote for the periodical Talks and Tales in Yiddish.
He lived in Boro Park and served as a chazzan on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur in the local Chabad shul led by Rabbi Eliyahu Yachil Simpson. He taught in the Yeshiva Beer Shmuel in Boro Park and gave a daily Tanya shiur in the local Viznitz shul. He later moved to Crown Heights.
He had the merit to receive a written bracha from the Frierdiker Rebbe for long life, for spreading Chassidus in a Litvish Yeshiva.
He is survived by his children, Rabbi Yehuda Landa – New Jersey, Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Landa – Crown Heights, Rabbi Yosef Landa – S. Louis, MO, Mrs. Rivky Kirsh – Crown Heights, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He was predeceased by his wife Mrs. Chaya Landa OBM.
The Levaya will take place today, leaving Shomei Hadas at 12:00 pm and passing by 770 at 1:00 pm.
Baruch Dayan Ha’emes.