A new book on the rescue of the Friediker Rebbe from Nazi-controlled Poland, Rescued from the Reich: How One of Hitler's Soldiers Saved the Lubavitcher Rebbe, has been published by Yale University Press. The NY Jewish Week writes:
"Rigg is quite critical of President Roosevelt and American authorities in not acting decisively to rescue Jews, and he’s also critical that the Lubavitch rebbe didn’t do more to try to get other Jews out of Europe once he arrived in the United States…"
Once the rebbe arrived in New York City, he made pleas for people to help those in Europe, but, as Rigg states, his requests reached no further than the Lubavitcher and other Orthodox communities. He sent food packages to Poland, and was active in trying to rescue his students who remained in Poland; he also worked for the rescue of other rebbes, from the Ger, Belz and Bobov dynasties. [But not Jews in general.]
Rigg writes that once the rebbe came to see that diplomacy wouldn’t work with the Nazis, he focused on the spiritual survival of the Jews. “The difficulties they faced, Schneersohn argued, citing classical Torah texts, meant that Jews should examine their own lives to find out what they could do better or repair.” Rigg notes the rebbe was critical of those Jews who weren’t observant, and he also condemned those spiritual leaders who cooperated with non-observant Jews and Christians. His priority was to prepare himself and others for the imminent arrival of the Messiah.
Rigg points out the irony that while it was political action that saved the rebbe’s life, he ultimately condemned that tactic. For Rigg, that the various Jewish groups couldn’t work together, that American Jewish leaders lacked sense of urgency to push harder, breaks his heart.
So let's see: The Friediker Rebbe urged Jews to stay in Europe; was a rabid anti-Zionist; ridiculed emmigration to America; told his followers there would not be a war; was saved by extraordinary efforts that included cooperation with Nazis; made limited, feeble efforts to rescue other Jews; decided that spiritual issues were more important than rescue; focused on messianism; and blamed non-observant Jews for the Holocaust.
Read the entire review here.