Ben Zion Halberstam

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Ben Zion Halberstam
Second Bobover Rebbe
Term 1905–1941
Full name Ben Zion Halberstam
Born 1874
Died July 28, 1941(1941-07-28) (aged 67)
Predecessor Shlomo Halberstam
Father Shlomo Halberstam

Ben Zion Halberstam (1874–1941) was the second Bobover Rebbe. He was murdered by the Nazis in 1941.


Halberstam was born in Bikofsk in 1874. His father was Shlomo Halberstam (1847–1905), the first Rebbe of Bobov, and a scion of the Divrei Chaim of Sanz (1798–1876). Upon his father's death Halberstam succeeded him as Rebbe. He wrote a commentary on the Torah called Kedushas Tzion.

Lvov, where Halberstam then lived, fell under Nazi control in July, 1941. For about a month Halberstam hid in a room whose door was secretly blocked by a large bookcase. But a friend convinced him to come out of hiding, on the theory that the Germans were harsher to people who were found hiding. The friend also argued that the Germans would honor Halberstam’s official papers that declared he was a foreign resident. On Friday, July 25, he left his place of hiding and established himself openly in a separate room in the apartment.

Early in the morning of July 25, groups of peasants from nearby villages began to flow into Lvov. They assembled on the premises of police stations; set out from there to the streets accompanied by Ukrainian policemen, and assaulted any Jew whom they encountered with clubs, knives and axes. Groups of Jews were taken to the Jewish cemetery and murdered brutally. A roundup of Jews from their homes, coupled with looting, began in the afternoon. The proportion of Jewish intellectuals was high. Ukrainian police circulated in groups of five and consulted prepared lists. The pogrom was known as the "Petliura Days" in commemoration of Symon Petliura. For three days, Ukrainian mobs went on a rampage through the Jewish districts of Lvov. They took groups of Jews to the Jewish cemetery and to Lunecki prison and shot them.

At about 6 p.m. that very day the door opened suddenly and a Ukrainian youth entered together with the building’s gentile superintendent. The youth carried a red whip with the insignia of the Symon Petliura bands. The youth ordered Halberstam to accompany him. His youngest son, Moshe Aaron, pleaded to come along to help his father, and was eventually allowed to.

They were joined on the street corner by other distinguished prisoners from other areas in the city. Soldiers stood guard to prevent escape. When the number of captives reached a hundred, the guards arranged them in a row, three abreast, and ordered them to march. Halberstam was too weak to keep up with the rapid pace and moved to the back. The guards beat him with their batons and demanded that he hurry up. An eye-witness writes that "he saw from his window how the Rebbe, dressed in his Sabbath clothing was attacked by the soldiers. The cruel Ukrainians beat him on his head with their rifle-butts and his yarmulke fell to the ground. From time to time the Rebbe bent over and stooped to pick it up, and they beat him even more." (Eilah Azkerah by Naftoli Eherenberg, V. 1, ed., page 141)

The next day there was another action. The captives this time included three of Halberstam's sons-in-law Rabbi Yecheskel Halberstam (son of Rabbi Yeshayale Tchechoiver), Rabbi Moshe Stempel and Rabbi Shlome Rubin. On Monday July 28, the Jewish captives were shot in the Yanover forest behind the city. 20,000 Jews were shot that day, Halberstam, his son and his three sons-in-law included.[1]

He was succeeded by his son Rabbi Shlomo Halberstam (1907–2000), who rebuilt Bobov in the United States.


Halberstam married his cousin, Chaya Fradel Halberstam, daughter of Rabbi Shalom Eliezer of Ratzfert who was a son of the Divrei Chaim of Sanz. Together they had eleven children:

1) Devorah Leah Halberstam (1900-1995) married her cousin, Yaakov Yisrael Twerski from Hornistipol (1898-1973). They had the following children:

2) Rivka Beila Halberstam married her mothers cousin, Yecheskel Shraga Halberstam, and later married Chaim Perlman. She had the following children: Esther and Yankush.

3) Nechama Golda Halberstam married Moshe Stempel. Moshe Stempel was murdered by the Nazis together with his father-in-law Rabbi Ben Zion Halberstam and brothers-in-law. After World War II, Nechama Golda remarried to Yehosua Meir Freshwater of Sassov. She had the following children:

  • Rabbi Leibel Stempel son-in-law of Rabbi Shlomo Dov Kleinman.
  • Shoshana Stempel who married Zeev Wolf Stern.
  • Benzion Sholom Eliezer Freshwater, son-in-law of the Turka Rov.
  • Rabbi Shlomo Yisrael Freshwater, son-in-law of Rabbi Gedalia Schorr.

4) Rabbi Shlomo Halberstam of Bobov, who married Bluma Rachel Teitelbaum. They had three children. Their daughter Hentchi and their son Mordche Duvid were murdered in Auschwitz, their only child to survive was their son:

After World War II, he remarried to Frieda Rubin, and had the following children:

  • Grand Rabbi Ben Zion Aryeh Leibish Halberstam present Bobover Rebbe, son-in-law of Rabbi Moshe Wachsman.
  • Nechama who married Rabbi Chaim Yaakov Tauber.
  • Devorah Leah who married Rabbi Yehonoson Binyamin Goldberger,
  • Malka who married Rabbi Benzion Blum.
  • Sarah who married Rabbi Yaakov Yisroel Meisles Bobover Ruv of Kiryath Bobov in Bat Yam.
  • Esther who married Rabbi Burech Avrohm Horowitz.

5) Bracha Halberstam married her cousin, Shlomo Rubin. Shlomo Rubin was murdered together with his father-in-law Rabbi Ben Zion Halberstam and brothers-in-law in 1941. After World War II she remarried to Rabbi Yehuda Lemerger of Serentch. She had the following children:

  • Tzvi Hersch Rubin Halberstam son-in-law of Rabbi Alexander of Kolbisova.
  • Miriam who married Rabbi Chaim Yisroel Weinfeld.

6) Gitsche Halberstam married Mordechai Shraga Lipschitz, who died in 1984. They had the following children:

  • Rabbi Benzion Lipschitz.
  • Shulem Eliezer Lipschitz, son-in-law of Rabbi Mendel Brachfeld.

7) Chaim Yehoshua Halberstam, born in 1912 and died in Siberia in 1943, married his cousin Leah Halberstam. They had the following children:

  • Yaakov Yoseph Halberstam, son-in-law of Rabbi Ahron Teitelbaum.
  • Rabbi Burech Duvid Halberstam, son-in-law of Rabbi Chaim Meisels of Sorvosh.

8) Yecheskel Dovid Halberstam (1914–1978) married his cousin, Rachel Rivka Horowitz. They had the following children:

  • Rabbi Yechiel Halberstam, son-in-law of Rabbi Aahron Teitelbaum of Tchenchkovitz.
  • Rabbi Chaim Halberstam, son-in-law of Rabbi Yitzchock Eizek Liebes of Greiding.
  • Rabbi Benzion Halberstam, son-in-law of Rabbi Feivel Halberstam of Kshanov.
  • Rabbi Shlomo Halberstam, son-in-law of Rabbi Yisroel Sochet.

9) Moshe Aaron Halberstam, born in 1920.

10) Shaindel Raatze Halberstam who married a disciple of her father, Yisrael Dov Weitz of Zator/Biale Bilitz. They have the following children:

  • Mirel Sarah married to Sholem Chentov.
  • Rabbi Benzion Yochanan Zev Weitz,son-in-law of Rabbi Refoel Duvid Auerbach.
  • Devorah Leah married to Avrohom Yitzchok Zweigenhaft.
  • Yechiel Mechal Avrohom Yosef Weitz son-in-law of R'Don Sterling.

11) Malka Halberstam married Yisrael Jacober. They have the following children:

  • Miriam
  • Leah

See also[edit]

Religious titles
Preceded by
Shlomo Halberstam
Rebbe of Bobov
Succeeded by
Shlomo Halberstam