The Rise and Fall of Agriprocessors Is the Story of an Immigrant Family Gone Awry
Shortly before the kosher meat company Agriprocessors declared bankruptcy this fall, Aaron Rubashkin, the 82-year-old owner of the company, stood under the fluorescent lights of his Brooklyn store and spoke about what it was like to watch the collapse of the company that he created in Boro Park and expanded first to Postville, Iowa, then to Nebraska and then beyond.
“I built my thing here for 54 years and in Postville for 24 years,” he told the Forward in his halting Yiddish cadence. “Brick by brick, day by day, night by night. And was destroyed in three hours. Everything was destroyed.”
The three hours to which Rubashkin was referring came May 12, when immigration agents raided his Iowa slaughterhouse and arrested 389 of the company’s workers, setting off a chain of events that led to the arrest of Rubashkin’s son on multiple criminal counts and to the company’s eventual declaration of bankruptcy.