A number of interviews have been recorded and have been made available to the film’s producers. Here are a few short excerpts.
“My father, who was the Lubliner Rav’s cousin, quoted the Rav at the ground breaking for the future yeshiva: “Why am I planning to build a yeshiva with a dormitory? For this we have to be grateful to the thieves of Poland. If there were no thieves in Poland the owners wouldn’t allow the yeshiva boys to sleep in their stores because they wouldn’t need watchmen. And if the boys didn’t have where to sleep they would not come to cities like Warsaw and Lublin to study Torah. So we have to thank the thieves for the Torah studied in Poland. I will not allow this situation to continue.”
“I arrived in the yeshiva exhausted and weak. It was the 17th of Tamuz and the Rav was not in Lublin that day. I was greeted by a distinguished older student who told me he just got a phone call from the Rav that I should go down to eat and not fast on the Shiva Assar B’Tamuz. The Rav had heard I arrived looking weak and malnourished so he wanted me to go down and eat. I did as I was told. An order is an order. The Rav worried about us young boys. He worried not just for our spirituality but also for our physical needs because he knew the physical is a part of the spiritual.”
“The building was the canvas on which he sold his message — a purpose-built six-story building with all the amenities: kitchens, mikvos, central heating, plumbing, and study hall, on the main street of a significant city. He wanted to change the way people viewed yeshivas and yeshiva students. It wasn’t good enough that on a Tuesday night you gave your leftovers to a hungry yeshiva bochur… He could have found other ways but that would not have achieved his primary objective; elevating the stature of Torah study and Torah students.”
“In order to get a place to sleep I was locked into a store every night as a watchman. There was no water or bathrooms. Had a fire broken out I could’ve been burned to death. Every morning the owner frisked me from top to bottom and checked even my shoelaces in case, G-d forbid, I might be stealing something. That was the system. I was a 13-year-old boy the first time I left my mother’s apron and came to a strange place to study Torah. Every day my blood was spilled. All this Rabbi Meir Shapiro wanted to change.”
“… his condition suddenly worsened and we were woken in the middle of the night to say Tehillim for him. We all ran to the Bais Medrash and the prayers were deafening…. He told the students around his bed to dance so they danced. This is true. He motioned with his hands and said, ‘Only with joy.’ These were his last words, ‘Only with joy.’ With those words his soul departed…. He was taken from his bed, placed on the floor and covered with a Talis over Shabbos. Friday night and Shabbos by day after davening we stood in line and entered the room and wished him a Good Shabbos.”