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[Page 125]

History of Heatid in Czernowitz

by Dr. S. Brandmarker (Tel Aviv)

Translated by Jerome Silverbush

When a people has fought for its freedom and independence, youth has always been the driving force behind this fight. So it was the Jewish youth which sent the first pioneers to Palestine and which laid the foundation for the World Zionist Organization. Every significant Zionist event found lively support from the Jewish youth and the creation of the first Zionist student organization in Czernowitz took place concurrently with the first Zionist Congress (1897-1904).

The most significant Zionist political event after Herzl's death was probably the Balfour Declaration1 in 1918 which aroused great enthusiasm among the youth and opened up new fields for Zionist activity. On October 23, 1918 in Czernowitz, Heatid2, the fifth and last academic association3 was founded.

During World War I Czernowitz students fled to Vienna. At the initiative of students Sigmund Pulman, Friedrich Muenzer, Julius Guttmann and Heinrich Perez the refugees founded in 1916 in Vienna the middle school association “Future.” which was greatly loved by students and teachers. Evenings were dedicated to fostering music and literature. These evenings were also attended by professors Dr. Spitzer, Gabor, and Dr. Markus Menczer. Brothers Pulman and Hartmayer were especially helpful in the arrangements. When the students returned to Czernowitz, they had completed their Abiture4 and they changed the middle school association into an academic association. The circle widened; the gentlemen Heinrich Seidner, Dr. Lambert and Chaim Korn, H. Hutter, Ch. Weissberg, Josef Rosenberg, the Medilanski brothers, Schapira, Reissberg, G. Sehmerz and Geller joined the newly established association and with this growth the circle of tasks widened.

Heatid, which had the motto, “For Jewish freedom and honor” inscribed on their crest participated in all Zionistic and social activities. Although Heatid was hindered in its activities by the other associations – Heatid was forbidden to wear caps until 1925 – it persisted and was successful in enrolling many new members.

In 1919, the gentlemen Dr. Siegmund Last and Dr. Josef Rosenberg joined Heatid. Dr. Siegmund Last set up Zionist seminars and accomplished much in the field of education. He provided Heatid's original “color song.”

Until 1927, Heatid followed the general Zionist movement. In 1927, it joined the Revisionist5 movement lead by V. Jabotinsky and a member of Heatid, Dr. J. Schieber became the founder of the Betar6 movement in Czernowitz.

Among the younger members of Heatid, Max Schaechter, Schorr, Melzer, Kurz, Kupfermannn, Blasenstein, Brandmarker, Lehrer, the Meth brothers, and Heinz Kraft were outstanding. The colors of Heatid were green-silver-black.

Among the many events and actions for spreading the Zionist idea and for collecting for the Zionist Fund, which the academic organizations constantly ran, the Green White Ball was among the most well known Jewish event, perhaps, the most well known event of the entire city of Czernowitz and was a social occasion. S. Pulmann and Hutter were especially helpful in organizing this evening.

Many of the former members of Heatid are no longer among the living. They died a terrible and martyr like death during the anti-Semitic outbreaks in in Bucharest (Landmann), in Transnistrien (Dr. Rudolf Medilansky, Preschel, Schaechter, Edi Greif, Kamil Fredi, Dr. Rosenberg, Dr. Schwarzkopf) or in the icy wastes of Siberia (S. Semmel, T. Gabe, Dr. Fischer, Dr. Tennenblatt, Dr. M. Bruell). Several have already died in Israel (Geller, Gluecksmann, Dr. Mohr, M. Kraft).

Many of the members of Heatid are scattered throughout the world and have achieved high positions. Only a small number have managed to settle in Israel to see with their own eyes the fruits of their labor, the reawakening of Israel within its present borders.

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Notes:

1) Balfour Declaration: The policy of the British government favoring the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, expressed in a letter from Lord Balfour to Lord Rothschild dated November 2, 1917. Return

2) Heatid: Heatid means “the future” in Hebrew. Return

3) Academic association: Something like the German “Burschenschaft” with its own colors on a ribbon and cap they wore. One of the features was dueling to avenge personal insults. Perhaps you could compare them to today's fraternities. The main concern of the Jewish academic associations was Jewish nationalism and Zionism. I will use the term, “brothers” to refer to members of Heatid. Return

4) Abiture: After completing Gymnasium or middle school, students have to pass a difficult exam. They were then awarded their “abiture” without which, they could not attend the university. Return

5) Revisionist movement: Established by V. Jabotinsky in 1925 as a reaction to the moderate policy Chaim Weizmann had toward the British mandate rule, Revisionism called for massive immigration to Israel, immediate declaration of a Jewish state in all of biblical Palestine and the formation of a well equipped Jewish defense force. Return

6) Betar: A Jewish youth movement dedicated to Zionist activity and community service. Return


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