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July 17, 1987 - Image 17

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-07-17

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If he carries through with
his threat — and he has
already written the Presiding
Judge Dov Levin outlining
his charges against Sheftel —
a great deal of mud will be
thrown and large quantities
of blood will be left on the
courtroom floor.
Like the trial of the
"Butcher of Lyons," Klaus
Barbie, which has just ended
in France, the focus of the
Demjanjuk trial is now likely
to shift from the accused and
his alleged atrocities to the
idiosyncrasies of his lawyers.
Earlier, O'Connor told me
he had first become involved
in the Demjanjuk case in
1983 when Demjanjuk's
daughter, Lydia, called him
at his office in Buffalo.
Why had she selected him?
O'Connor could only guess
that it was because he had
already established a
reputation in the field of
international law (he was on
retainer to the government of
Congo-Brazzaville) and for
his handling of immigration
"Her father was then state-

bypassed him: "I have
respectfully informed the
court concerning the fact that
Mr Sheftel and Mr Shaked
have concluded case-related
agreements in the Hebrew
language without consulting
lead counsel. Having
translated one such agree-
ment, it is my opinion that it
may prove harmful to the
defenses (sic) case."
Perhaps the most serious
eharge concerned allegations
that Sheftel had removed
"vital defence documents,"
and O'Connor formally
sought the court's assistance
in restraining Sheftel from
"systematically removing"
documents from his office in
the court building.
"I have put Mr Sheftel on
notice repeatedly that he
must return the exhibits,
documents and other evi-
dence that I have developed in
this case over the past five (5)
"He repeatedly refuses to
respond claiming that he has
removed nothing from the of
My secretary as recently
as Friday evening, July 10,
observed him taking files out
of the office and putting them
in his automobile.
An inspection of my files
revealed that vital defence
documents have been re-

Sheila Lipschutz



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60 Years Ago
This Week


A Train
came back

July 1927. Russia. Kostroma: a

On the first anniversary of that day,
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak explained what
some people had intuitively felt.
His release was not just a
personal victory, a vindication
of his efforts. It was a victory of
universal proportions. It
represented the conquest of
good over evil, light over
darkness, spirit over matter. It
was a triumph that would affect
all mankind.

bleak and isolated village in the Ural
Mountains, city of exile for 'subversives'
who for various reasons had the
luck to escape the firing squad.
From the Kostroma sta-
tion, a train pulls away, heading
for Moscow. On the train is
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneer-
sohn, the Lubavitcher Rebbe,
the undaunted leader of Rus-
sian Jewry, perceived by the
Bolsheviks to be one of the
greatest threats to their still
young regime.

Almost single-handedly,
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak had
struggled to educate Jewish
children in Russia, founding a secret network of hundreds of underground
Jewish schools. In response, he had been beaten, tortured, and sentenced
to death.

World leaders responded. In the United States, President Calvin
Coolidge moved fast to intervene on behalf of this revered and courageous
leader. The death sentence was commuted. Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak was
sentenced instead to exile in Kostroma. International pressure continued.
After nine days, the sentence of exile was also repealed.

'Not I alone was released
on this day," he wrote. "This
was a victory for all those
who care for Torah and cherish
its precepts. It was a triumph
for Jews everywhere, even those
whose sole connection to Judaism is that they bear the name "Jew."

July 1987. it is sixty years since the train brought Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak

back from Kostroma. One thing still remains dear. The heart of Jewry can-
not and will not be stilled

On July 9, 1987, - the 12th of Tammuz - Jews around the world begin to
celebrate anew the victory of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak. To those whose lives
have been affected by his ideas & teachings and fired by the goals he fought
for, the day represents a renewed source of inspiration.

On the 12th of the Hebrew month of Tam-
muz, the Rebbe's 47th birthday, he was told
he could leave Kostroma and return to

Today, the challenges to Judaism have
taken on new form, but the struggle is still the
same. If anything it has been imbued with
even greater urgency and vigor.

It was an unbelievable, almost unheard
of triumph. The news spread like wildfire.
Around the world, followers, students, ad-
mirers began to rejoice. They danced. They
cried. They said le chayim. They embraced
one another. The Rebbe was free.

Confronting these challenges is Rabbi
Yosef Yitzchak's son-in-law and successor
Rabbi Menachern Mendel Schneerson, whose
massive educational, social and
rehabilitative programs touch the lives of
millions, Jews and non-Jews alike.

Who could begin to comprehend the
meaning of what had taken place? Who
could grasp the historic significance of this
momentous event? The main thing was that
the Rebbe was free.

After 60 years, the efforts to educate,
build and renew go on.

It is as if the train is once again returning
with the Rebbe on board, and we are there to
greet it.

The heart of Judaism was still beating.
Even in Russia.

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn

Rabbi Menachern Mendel Schneerson

—Helen Davis


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