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Section: Stories   Category: Story Corner
Not Your Ordinary Highway Rest Stop

The Admor of Strovkov appeared one day during WWII at the entrance to a bunker in Pressburg, Slovakia, where a group of Jew were in hiding.  He requested to be allowed to join them.  The Jews told him that they would give him permission to join them only if he promised them that they would all be saved.  The Rebbe promised.

Towards the end of the war, Rav Michoel Ber Weissmandel, who was also in that bunker, bribed a German officer to transport all the residents of the bunker to the Swiss border in an army trunk.  The successful bribery was in itself an incredible miracle since it would have meant a certain death for the officer if he was caught.

On the way to the Swiss border, the Strovkover Rebbe asked the German officer to stop the truck for a few minutes since he needed to take care of his personal needs.  The officer refused, saying that if he would stop the truck on the side of the road they were liable to be caught.  Nazis were constantly patrolling the area since it was the known path of escape to Switzerland.  The Jews on the truck also tried to convince the Rebbe to retract his request, but the Rebbe stood his ground and insisted on getting off the truck.  He informed the other passengers that they were in no way obligated to wait for him, and they should feel free to continue on the way without him.

The German officer finally stopped the truck, and the Rebbe disappeared into the forest.  The other passengers waited, tense and frightened, with the life or death fear of being caught at any minute over their heads.  When the Rebbe finally emerged from the forest and returned to the truck, he informed the passengers that he needed to wash netilas yadayim, and he could not continue traveling until water was found.

The other passengers already didn't know what to think, and wondered why the Rebbe was not being considerate of them and of the grave danger facing them at every moment.  However, they had no choice but to try to fulfill the Rebbe's request, since no even considered leaving the Rebbe and traveling without him.  Someone went out to search for water, and after the Rebbe had washed his hands- they continued along the way -after a delay of half an hour.

Eventually, they reached the border safely, and discovered something shocking - something that made them very happy about their half hour delay.  The Swiss soldiers told them that a half hour before they reached the border, there had been a heavy tank attack by the Americans and they had blown up every street leading to the border.  Many people had lost their lives in the explosions...

All the Jews who had been in the bunker with the Rebbe survived the war.  (Aleinu Leshabeach)

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