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Polish Court to Hear Post-mortem Appeal to Clear Rabbi Shot As a Spy

August 20, 1930
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The Supreme Military Court of Poland has decided to consider the appeal in the case of Rabbi Chaim Shapiro, the rabbi of Plotsk, who ten years ago was sentenced to death by a Polish court martial and executed. He was charged with being a Bolshevist spy and with betraying the Polish army. For a decade Polish Jewry has sought a postmortem retrial for Rabbi Shapiro in an endeavor to wipe out the stain on his name and on all Polish Jewry. The case was retried in 1922 but the Military Court confirmed the sentence of the court martial.

On September 18, 1920, Rabbi Shapiro stood on the balcony of his house in his talith and tefillim praying. With no other evidence than the accusation that his praying on the balcony was meant to be a signal to the Bolshevists, Rabbi Shapiro was hastily convicted and the death sentence carried out. The execution came shortly after the Polish army had thrown back the Russian army at the Vistula and Poland was taking form as a unified state.

As the tenth anniversary of Poland’s emancipation draws near plans are being made to rehabilitate the name of Rabbi Shapiro. The Jews of Poland are taking all measures for the defense of the late Rabbi’s reputation while a special judicial committee has been organized to handle the case which has taken on the nature of a cause celebre.

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