Monsey Memories: The Kranes’ Heroic Rescue Efforts

Monsey Memories: The Kranes’ Heroic Rescue Efforts

Yitzy Fried 

A number of weeks ago, we profiled a special Monsey couple, Uncle Robert and Tante Ruth Krane, as they were known to scores of old Monsey residents, old and young. Today, we revisit a little-known chapter in the Krane’s lives: their heroic efforts during WWII, as featured in They Called Him Mike, authored by Yonoson Rosenblum, Artscroll Mesorah. 

Among those who filled out many affidavits were Robert Krane, a successful Wall Street lawyer, and his wife Ruth. Even before they met Mike, the Krane’s, who had no dependents of their own, had started to fill out affidavits, but they were eager to become more heavily involved in saving Jews in Europe. Shortly after moving to Williamsburg, they learned from Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz about a group of young people working around the clock on immigration matters. 

“Mrs. Krane went to 616 Bedford Avenue one Sunday morning to meet with Mike…Mrs. Krane expressed her and her husband’s eagerness to help with affidavits. Mike immediately recognized the Krane’s special qualities and, in addition to using all the affidavits they could supply, set out to draw them into his circle. 

“The Krane’s supplied Mike with hundreds of affidavits. Among those were affidavits for the parents and sister of Dr. Naftali Hertz Bursztyn, a beloved Williamsburg physician. Mile called the Krane’s one night and told them that Dr. Bursztyn’s parents and sister were booked on the last ship leaving Vienna but that $450 was desperately needed to cover their transportation. When Mrs. Krane’s father, Menachem Mendel Brawer, heard the story, he said, ‘I want this mitzvah for myself.’ 

“In time, the Krane’s were numbered among the Tress family’s closest friends. They were Uncle Robert and Tante Ruth to the Tress children, to whom they were always available to provide a sympathetic ear, a piece of sound advice, or a special treat. The Tress children have hundreds of letters written to them by Mrs. Krane at camp, and a number of Tress grandchildren and great-grandchildren are named after Mr. Krane or one of the Krane’s parents. 

The relationship the Krane’s established with the Tress children soon extended to other families in Williamsburg and later Monsey, and though they never had children, they were blessed with as many ‘grandchildren, nieces, and nephews’ as anyone could wish for.” 

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