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Chief Rabbi Prof. Schorr Officially Reporting Dead in Soviet Russia

Chief Rabbi Prof. Moses Schorr of Warsaw, whose release from Soviet imprisonment has been fought by the Polish authorities since the signing of the Polish-Soviet pact, died in Russia on July 8, 1941, just abut three weeks before the pact was concluded, the Polish Ambassador in Moscow today cabled his government in London.

The disclosure of Prof. Schorr’s death was made to the Polish Ambassador by the Soviet authorities. Prof. Schorr was arrested by the Soviets in Lwow immediately after the occupation of that city by the Red Army in 1939. He was later transferred to the Soviet interior, but until today no one had been able to ascertain his fate or his whereabouts. No indication as to the circumstances of his death was given in the message which the Polish government received today from its embassy in Moscow.

Born in Przemysl in 1874, Prof. Schorr was one of the outstanding leaders of Polish Jewry. A distinguished scholar, whose attainments were recognized by both Jews and non-Jews alike, he was appointed in 1922 as Chief Rabbi of Warsaw. Four years later he was appointed professor of Semitic languages and of History of the Ancient East at the University of Warsaw. He taught in the University of Lwow from 1910 until his appointment in Warsaw.

Prof. Schorr had been a member of the Polish Academy of Science since 1928. He was appointed by the Polish President as member of the Senate in 1935 and was one of the Jewish representatives in the Polish Upper House. As one of the leading Jewish figures in Poland, he was active in Jewish cultural, religious and political life. He was also the vice-president of the B’nai B’rith in Poland.

When the Polish Government was compelled to evacuate Warsaw during the Nazi invasion in September, 1939, Prof. Schorr was included in the Governmental evacuation party. He, however, refused to leave Polish soil despite the offer of the Polish Government to enable him to reach France. According to Count August Zaleski, Foreign Minister in the Polish Cabinet-in-exile which was formed in Paris, Prof. Schorr remained in Lwow saying: “As long as I am the head of Polish Jewry, I cannot leave Polish soil on which millions of Jews remain.” When Lwow was later occupied by the Soviet Army, Prof. Schorr was among the first Jewish leaders to be arrested.

An author of a number of scholarly works which have received recognition in the scientific world, Prof. Schorr had the honorary degree of Doctor of Hebrew Letters conferred upon him in absentia by the Jewish Institute of Religion in New York in June, 1940, while he was already detained in a Soviet prison. Rabbi Stephen S. Wise and Jewish leaders in Britain intervened with the Soviet embassies in Washington and London to secure his release with a view of permitting him to proceed to Palestine. These appeals, however, brought no results.

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