The Great Shanghai Escape Part V



As thousands of Jewish refugees scrambled for Curacao ‘visas’ and Japanese transit visas, many others were skeptic regarding the visa scheme, while others thought it a downright dangerous maneuver. Not only were the Curacao visas dubious at best, but the very idea of applying for a Soviet exit visa was understood by many to be viewed as tantamount to criminal activity by the Soviet authorities. In the world prior to the Nazi invasion and the Final Solution, the greatest fear was deportation by the Soviet to Siberian gulag. Many advocated against applying for these visas due to the inherent dangers involved.
Despite the opposition within the yeshiva community, Rav Leib Malin of the Mir Yeshiva encouraged the Mir contingent to apply for the visas as a group. Along with a few activists among the yeshiva students, the majority of the Mir Yeshiva students received Curacao and Japanese transit visas and prepared to join the throngs of Polish Jewish refugees headed for the east.
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