In addition to the publisher’ s dedication, the author added the story of this edition in his own handwriting: “This tractate…was translated and vowelized during the Holocaust, in the Second World War, under the rule… of the Nazis in 1943, in Brussels. And it was published by the undersigned in 1961”. The Germans invaded Belgium in May 1940 and immediately began their pursuit of the Jewish population. In the spring of 1942 the “Final Solution” began to be felt in the country and many people fled from their homes and began to search for hiding places. Among them were Rabbi Shmuel Hibner and his wife. At that time, when Hibner was beginning to despair, he was informed that Natanel Lefkowitz wanted to meet with him. Natanel Lefkowitz was one of the richest Jews in Belgium, who managed to save a significant portion of his wealth after the German invasion. He was a great lover of the Talmud, and for many years he had been planning to translate the Talmud into Yiddish. Even now, during the terrible days of inhalation, while working to rescue Jews, he can’t stop thinking about his plan. Lefkowitz searched for a person among those in hiding with the knowledge needed to translate the Talmud, and heard about Hibner, a great Torah scholar who wrote and spoke fluent Yiddish and was also familiar with the rules of grammar. He was the person to carry out the translation. Lefkowitz made the following proposal: he will support Hibner and his wife, and provide them with paper. Hibner accepts the offer. They decide to begin by translating tractate Brachot, the first tractate of the Talmud and also the only tractate Hibner has with him in his hiding place. Every Sunday, the day when the Nazis got drunk and there was less fear of searches, Hibner met with Lefkowitz, to give him a progress report about the work. After finishing the translation of all of tractate Brachot, they decided to begin to translate tractate Baba Metziah, and he carried on with his work diligently. Lefkowitz faithfully upheld his side of the deal, and he supported Hibner and his wife generously. In September 1944, Belgium was liberated by the Allied forces. Hibner left his hiding place, along with the translations of tractates Brachot, Baba Metziah and part of Baba Kama. Lefkowitz returned to his extensive business concerns. He took an active role in the rebuilding of the congregation and was the head of the Zionist organizations in the country – yet never forgot about the translation project. 36 cm. Binding is partially detached. Overall condition: very good.
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