Vilna (Apr. 17)
The grave of the “Righteous Proselyte,” Count Valentine Pototzky, was violated today by unknown vandals, much to the distress of the local population. A short time ago the famous tree growing on the grave was cut down by unknown persons. The grave is 175 years old, and is held in great reverence by the Jewish and non-Jewish population of Lithuania because of the tragic story connected with it.
The story has it that Valentine, a young Prince of the noble family of Pototzky, while in Paris, in the year 1735, became acquainted with a Jewish wine seller with whom he studied the Bible and Hebrew. Deciding to become a Jew, Pototzky left for Amsterdam, where be embraced the Jewish faith, to the great displeasure of his family. When the returned to Poland he lived for a long time incognito as a Jew in the little village of Iljea, near Vilna. He was discovered, however, by the then existing Polish Inquisition, sentenced to death and burned at the stake on May 24th, 1749. A letter of pardon, sent by the King, arrived too late.