By Shneur Zalman Berger
During the Second World War, when the Soviet Union captured a few neighboring countries
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact signed between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union on 23 August 1939 had led to territories of Poland and Galicia to be annexed by the Soviets.
This has allowed R’ Shmuel Menachem Klein to visit his parents and family who lived in the city of Turka after 20 years of not seeing each other. Klein didn’t know this would be the last time he saw them as they all would be exterminated in the Holocaust.
Before returning to Leningrad (today St. Petersburg), Klein took with him many holy Jewish books. They were readily available in Galicia since the Russians haven’t yet banned religious articles there.
During his entire trip back home, Klein was worried that his precious cargo would be discovered by police and confiscated. Luckily, his fears never actualized and his returned home safely with the books.
When the Nazis invaded Russia, Klein and his family escaped from Leningrad with very few possessions, among them a 5-volume set of Chumash. These Chumashim remained with them throughout the Second World War.
The Chumash came to use on a regular basis, especially once the family settled in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where local authorities kept a watchful eye on religious practice.
The Klein family eventually immigrated to Israel and took the Chumashim with them. They were donated and are now regularly used in the central shul in the Nachlas Har Chabad neighborhood of Kiryat Malaachi, telling a brave tale of faith and perseverance under struggle.