The entire Torah world was saddened to hear of the
petiroh of HaRav Zusha Waltner zt"l, late of
Bayit Vegan and formerly of Morocco, Sunderland and
He was born in Bekestchaber, Hungary in Tishrei, 5679 (1918).
At the age of 13 he went to yeshiva and was later brought to
Switzerland in 1936 by the Erlanger family in Lucerne to
serve as the private melamed of their son. From there
with evident Hashgocho protis he escaped to England
before the outbreak of war. There he was first in London
where he became close to Rabbi Rabinov and then to Rabbi
Eliezer Dessler whom he accompanied everywhere on his
travels. During the war years when Rabbi Dessler was
separated from his family who were in Australia, Rabbi
Dessler stayed with the Waltner family.
HaRav Waltner was one of the founding members of the famous
Gateshead Kollel. After the war he went to Hungary to bring
out young survivors. He managed to bring out 100 orphans who
survived the Holocaust and, despite danger to himself,
brought them with mesiras nefesh to Sunderland near
Gateshead where they formed the core of the yeshiva he
When there were no more boys in Hungary, he traveled to
Morocco to help Jewry there and to bring bochurim for
his yeshiva. In 1952 he was asked by a Mr. Toledano, an
architect who lived in Tangiers, to come to save Moroccan
Jewry from assimilation. It was then a 10 day trip by boat
and no simple journey. Nonetheless he set off for Tangiers
with three little children, on the advice of Rabbi Dessler
and the Chazon Ish.
There he set up a yeshiva called Eitz Chaim. He traveled all
over Morocco and brought the children at the ages of 9 or 10
to Tangiers to the yeshiva. He was like a father to them. He
later set up a seminary as well. This went on for some 24
years until it became too dangerous to stay on. There are
thousands of bnei Torah and religious balabatim
today who freely acknowledge that he is responsible for their
He was not only a rosh yeshiva but a father to thousands. In
addition to his own mosdos he also set up Otzar
Hatorah institutions in Morocco.
The levaya was on erev Shabbos parshas Mikeitz
in Yerushalayim and he was buried on Har Hamenuchos.
He is survived by his wife tlct"a, sons, daughters,
grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as by his
thousands of talmidim and their families, who continue
along the path he showed them.