With the Soviet occupation of Lithuania in the summer of 1940, the search for visas to destination countries turned into a desperate endeavor for thousands of refugees who wished to escape a life under the communists. In order to execute an exit plan, one was required to be in possession of a full set of documentation attesting to every step of the intended journey. These included a passport, transit visas, end visas and perhaps most importantly, exit visas from the Soviet Union.

Many debated the wisdom of obtaining visas, paying exorbitant sums for dubious visa destinations. Others were concerned that the Soviets would deport to Siberia anyone applying for an exit visa. Yet others took the risk. The great rescue activist and Zionist leader Zorach Warhaftig emerged as a central figure in pursuing any feasible visa venue. Soon the Mir Yeshiva joined the visa bandwagon and the visa miracles began to fall into place.

 

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