Auction 63 - Rare and Important Items

Passport of Rebbe Aharon Rokeach of Belz – With his Picture and Signature – Passport Issued in Preparation for Leaving Eretz Israel During the War of Independence

Opening: $30,000
Estimate: $40,000 - $60,000
Sold for: $47,500
Including buyer's premium
Polish passport of Rebbe Aharon Rokeach of Belz, with his picture and signature. [Eretz Israel, 1948].
The passport was issued in Tel Aviv by the Polish consulate on March 10, 1948. On the second leaf, the picture of the Rebbe is pasted (a reproduction of the famous picture from 1934, of the Rebbe leaning on a train window sill), with embossed relief-stamps of the consulate. Below the picture is the signature of the Rebbe "Aharon Rokeach".
The passport contains stamps, with entry visas completed by hand to Czechoslovakia and Switzerland.
This passport was issued as part of the Rebbe's plan to leave Eretz Israel during the War of Independence, in response to the entreaties of his Chassidim in Europe. This plan was never realized, and the Rebbe remained in Eretz Israel. The book BiKedushato Shel Aharon (part II, pp. 96-97) relates this episode, documenting that the Rebbe acceded to the pleas of his Chassidim to move over to Europe, requesting of his attendant, R. Moshe (Gross), to obtain a passport for him, and reserve a plane ticket. The flight was scheduled for Thursday, Adar 21 – the day of the Yahrtzeit of the Rebbe's mother. When the Rebbe realized this, he declared that he had never travelled on a Yahrtzeit, and the trip was repeatedly postponed. When R. Unterman, chief rabbi of Tel Aviv found out, he sent a delegation to the Rebbe bidding him to remain. The Rebbe replied that he had never intended to travel, but he had been taught by his father R. Yissachar Dov that at such times, one should prepare to travel.
Rebbe Aharon Rokeach of Belz (1880-1957) was renowned as a miracle worker and a holy man, earning the epithet "Aharon, G-d's holy one". A foremost Rebbe and leader of European Jewry before the Holocaust, he also rebuilt Torah and Chassidut after the war. He was the son of Rebbe Yissachar Dov of Belz (the Maharid) and grandson of Rebbe Yehoshua of Belz. From a young age, he was known for his great holiness and toil in Torah and Chassidic works, together with his outstanding asceticism. He earned the reputation of an advocate of the Jewish people and a wonder-worker benefiting from Divine Inspiration, and thousands flocked his court to seek his blessings, advice and salvation. He was appointed Rebbe of the Belz Chassidut in 1927 and became one of the foremost leaders of Eastern European Jewry. As such, he was especially targeted by the Nazis during the Holocaust. His followers smuggled him from ghetto to ghetto, until he miraculously managed to escape to Budapest, Hungary, where he remained for a short period, until the Nazis demanded his extradition. From there he made his way to Eretz Israel on a difficult journey that spanned Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey and Syria. His wife, children, grandchildren and entire extended family were killed by the Nazis, and he arrived in Eretz Israel accompanied only by his brother, R. Mordechai of Biłgoraj (1901-1949, who also lost his entire family, his only remnant being his son, R. Yissachar Dov, current Belzer Rebbe, born of his second marriage in Eretz Israel). Rebbe Aharon of Belz settled in Tel Aviv, where he endeavored to encourage Holocaust survivors, and together with his brother R. Mordechai of Biłgoraj, re-established the Belz Chassidut institutions in Eretz Israel and around the world - in Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, Bnei Brak and other places.
Passport. 14 cm. Good condition. Stains. Minor wear to the wrappers.
Chassidic Luminaries – Manuscripts, Letters and Signatures
Chassidic Luminaries – Manuscripts, Letters and Signatures