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Bidding Information
Lot #    26878
Auction End Date    6/15/2010 11:02:30 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Call to prayer for the release of imprisoned
Title (Hebrew)    בצפרני היבסקס הציונים
Author    [Yossele Schumacher - Unrecorded]
City    Jerusalem
Publisher    Horev
Publication Date    1960's
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   Poster, 500:350 mm., light age staining, creased on folds. No copy in JUNL.
   Call to prayer for the release of imprisoned uncle of Yossele, R. Shalom Gershon Schtraks. Yossele Schumacher is an Israeli whose abduction as a child became a cause célèbre in Israel and led Shin Bet and its director Isser Harel on a worldwide search for his whereabouts. Schumacher was born in Russia and immigrated to Israel as a child with his parents. Due to financial difficulties, his parents requested that his Haredi grandfather, Nachman Schtraks, raise him in Israel. The parents accepted the grandfather's condition that the boy be raised as an Orthodox Jew.

After living in Israel for a few years, Schumacher's parents decided to return to Russia. Fearing that Schumacher would be brought up as a secular Jew by his parents in Russia, the Orthodox community of Jerusalem hid the boy in 1960 with another Haredi family in Bnei Berak. At first, even the secular Israeli public backed the grandfather. However, when the parents were convinced to stay in Israel, the tide of support turned against the grandfather. In the shadow of a court order for his return and a possible police search, the rabbis of the Jerusalem Orthodox community disguised Schumacher as a girl and placed him the care of a Frenchwoman and convert to Judaism named Ruth Ben-David (then Madeleine Frei), who took him with her to Europe. Schumacher would spend two years total in France and Switzerland under her care.

By this time, authorities in Israel had increased their search efforts, leading Ben-David to again disguise Schumacher as a girl and smuggle him into the United States in March 1962. There he was hidden in the apartment of a Haredi woman named Mrs. Gertner at in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Subsequently the family changed Schumacher's name to Yankele Frenkel and hid him in their upstate New York milk farm.

Following Schumacher's disappearance from Israel, Schtraks was imprisoned and police arrested the couple that had hidden the boy in Bnei Berak. Sometime later on, Ruth Ben-David, still in France, decided to sell her house and met a potential realtor named Mr. Faber in an attorney's office. The realtor was, in fact, Isser Harel, who placed Ben-David under interrogation with humiliating treatment. Though uncooperative at first, Ben-David began to talk after the Shin Bet invented a story that her son had turned her in and was himself the subject of an investigation.

By this point it was August 1962, and with Schumacher's location identified, two officials from Shin Bet came to the Gertner's and re-abducted the boy to reconcile him with his non-observant parents. The abduction of Schumacher caused enormous controversy in Israel between many Haredi Jews — who supported the grandparents and claimed that Schumacher's parents were communists who wished to bring the boy with them back to Russia — and secular Jews, some of whom reportedly yelled in Jerusalem, Epho Yossele? ("Where is Yossele?").

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Listing Classification
20th Century:    Checked
Israel:    Checked
History:    Checked
Polemics:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica
Posters:    Checked