In the Jewish Underground Movement
Among the Ghetto Fighters
Shlomo (Solomon) Entin
His brother Shimon Arnin-Entin (Ramat Gan) relates:
Solomon (that is how we called him at home) was born in 1916. He was a student
at the Tarbuth High School in Pinsk. As the son of a family immersed in a
Jewish way of life and a Zionist atmosphere, at the age of twelve he joined the
movement, which was then established in Pinsk, and remained a member of the
) until his last day. Already at a young age his main attributes were obvious:
dedication to his friends, persistence in achieving his goals, bravery and
These qualities dictated his development in the troop and in the youth movement
from a young recruit in the Wolves to a leader and a member
of the staff of the movement for the whole region of Polesia. While still a
young trainee he invested of his good taste in development of a
(Jewish National Fund) Corner in the troop's clubhouse; and together with the
other children they made this into a warm part of the home of the
group in the old wooden building, in an alley behind the old cemetery in
At an early age he was forced to quit his studies and to begin working at
Lurie's lumber factory, where he worked until he left Pinsk at the time of the
Russian invasion toward the end of 1939.
He divided his time between the hours at work and the hours of help around the
house, and in the evening hours he was active in the movement. As a meticulous
person regarding his schedule, he knew how to find time to engage in sports and
especially he loved the Pina River. The family resided at 12 Zamkova Street, in
a house rented from a Christian peasant family of fishermen. As a child this
Christian family were attached to him and especially appreciated his love of
And now to the problem of aliyah [immigration] to Israel, on which he had been
educated and had educated others: this was understood and obvious to him
that he must achieve this goal but when? At the end of 1934 he had lost
his mother. At home remained his father and younger brother, who was still a
pupil at Tarbut High School, and the older brother was planning to leave for
Israel. This dilemma bothered Solomon incessantly. It was in the year 1939 that
he returned to this subject in a most critical manner. Mara his younger
brother (who fell in the Israeli War of Independence at Nitzanim) was on
the way to Israel on an illegal immigrants' boat.
What about my own immigration? Solomon asked himself over and over.
I'm left with just my father, and I can't just up and leave him. Mara is
on his way to Palestine. I'll just have to wait he seemed to answer
When the unspeakable war broke out and Pinsk was invaded by the Russians, a
mass emigration by Polish Jews in an easterly direction took place. Thousands
came through Pinsk, and many found a night's stay with Solomon.
Then the problem presented itself with greater intensity: to remain in Pinsk
under the Russian occupation meant abandoning immigration to Palestine, and
abandoning any possibility of realizing his great Zionist dream! Leaving Pinsk
meant leaving Father alone against an unknown and threatening future. A
conversation with Father was convincing and decisive. Solomon and some of his
friends from the movement in Pinsk joined the flow of people to Vilna. From
there, from Lithuania of those days still existed the
of immigration to Israel
A new chapter opened in the life of Solomon. His group of friends began to
settle into Vilna, and to seek a way to make a living, like thousands of other
refugees in those days. An effort was made to renew the Zionist Youth
movement's activities. It transpired that in Vilna it was impossible to ensure
a living to so great a number of transient people, and the decision was taken
to break up into small groups and to settle in various Lithuanian shtetls.
Solomon and his former friend from school and friend from the youth movement,
Nissan Reznik, left for Shavli. There began to be problems with these small
groups in small places who became woodcutters and water carriers
awaiting the possibility of leaving for Israel. With the Russian invasion of
Vilna, opportunities arose at first to leave for Israel or for the Far East.
Therefore the dispersed young people decided to return to Vilna. Solomon and
Nissan were among the returnees. Meanwhile, members of the top leadership of
the movement began to leave for Israel, and some of the active members as well.
Once again there were changes in the leadership of the movement, and Solomon,
Nissan and others took charge of matters. Efforts were made to organize the
activities in Vilna and to maintain contact with the groups and the refugees in
the region. Ties were established to other youth movements and cooperation was
established in the struggle for human living conditions and maintenance of a
Zionist existence. Members were sent on missions toward Russia, and others
succeeded in reaching the Far East.
And meanwhile the 22nd of June 1941 arrived. The Nazi invasion of Russia
commenced. Vilna was invaded by the Nazis; many Jews escaped with the
retreating Red Army, among them members of the youth movement. Solomon Entin
stayed behind in Vilna with his coworkers. Events under the Nazis developed
To the Pinskers in the Vilna group came news of the events in Pinsk and of the
Nazi atrocities there. Solomon, who had false Aryan papers, tried to reach
Pinsk. He went as far as Luninetz and discovered that Pinsk was under Nazi
siege no one was allowed out or in. He returned to Vilna. A second
attempt to reach Pinsk was made by his friend Nissan Reznik, but this was also
unsuccessful. Nissan had reached Baranowicz and returned.
And in Vilna there were persecution of the Jews, measures against them and
rumors of the ghetto, about to be built. The Zionist activists met and debated
whether to stay within the walls which were about to rise, enclosing all of the
Jews, including the refugees, or to go out to the forests and save what could
be saved. The decision was made: to remain in the ghetto and not to leave the
Jews of Vilna to their own fate.
Solomon was chosen to manage the central public kitchen on 2 Shterson Street,
which turned into a Zionist center in the ghetto and to a center of the Jewish
It was on the eve of Yom Kippur of 1941 the first period of the ghetto.
The young members of the movement guarded the homes of the Jews against attacks
by riotous Lithuanians, who gladly cooperated with their Nazi masters. Solomon
was standing guard at a house on Rudnitzka Street, when a group of Lithuanian
thugs entered the ghetto. His cool head and bravery stood against the thugs,
and the residents of the house were spared. However, it was common knowledge
that this was only the beginning. The insane mind of the Nazi beasts would
taunt and threaten the residents of the ghetto. Discussions took place among
the Zionist youth groups over how to act in the face of the ever-present
dangers. Solomon was among the first to raise the possibility of organizing an
armed struggle in the ghetto.
His friend from the Vilna ghetto recalled: I knew Solomon from childhood:
together we had been through a lot; I knew of his dedication and courage.
However, not all that well
for suddenly appeared before me a new Solomon
a brave leader, who sparked others to action; who said what was
difficult and painful but the horrible truth and called for
The debate among the various movements was serious and penetrating. This was no
longer a debate over Zionism, or the range of ideologies. This time the concern
was whether to stay in the ghetto and to organize active resistance to the
Nazis or to find a way beyond the walls, to leave Vilna and try to make their
way to other ghettos, where life was more organized. The leaders of
(Freedom), led by Mordechai Tenenbaum (Tamarof), were in favor of
transferring the Zionist activity to the turf of the General
Government, especially to Bialystok; the activists of the Zionist
) (Solomon, Nissan Reznik and others) and The Young Guard (Hashomer Hatsair), argued in favor of staying in the ghetto and organizing resistance.
Meanwhile the older leadership was destroyed by the Nazis; the younger Vilna
leadership was not yet mature enough for the mighty tasks which they faced.
Therefore the activists of the movements decided to take matters in their own
hands. The central kitchen, managed by Solomon Entin, became the center for the
In December 1941 the Pioneer Coordination decided to send a delegation to the
Warsaw Ghetto. This had two main goals: to inform the leaders of the Warsaw
Ghetto of the actions to destroy the Jews of Vilna, and to spur the Jews of
Warsaw to organize physical resistance; and to raise money to help the
resistance in Vilna. Solomon, carrying false identity papers in the name of Jan
Stankievich, together with Adek Warks from
Hashomer Hatsair, Israel Kempner and Yehuda Pinchevsky of the Revisionists, set off for Warsaw.
On this mission, they were captured by the Nazis. However, with daring and
bravery, they were able to escape and make their way to Warsaw. Feverish talks
began, arguments with activists of the Warsaw Ghetto, meetings with the Manager
of the Joint [Joint Distribution Committee] in Warsaw Mr. Giterman
regarding finance for the Vilna Ghetto. The supposition was that the delegates
would remain in Warsaw and would attempt to transfer money through various
organs of the underground. Solomon and Adek volunteered to return to Vilna with
a million zlotys, which they had received from Mr. Gitelman. Together with them
went Frumka Plotnitzki.
Meanwhile while in Warsaw Solomon learned that among the leaders of the
Zionist Youth there was not enough activity, considering the current situation.
Similar echoes were heard regarding Bialystok. Solomon decided a couple of
weeks after his return to Warsaw to return there in order to assist in the
organization of resistance and to encourage activity. The activists in Vilna,
including his own personal friends, his friends from the movement, and friends
from other movements, all tried to dissuade him from this plan. They described
the dangers to be expected on the long journey. But Solomon had decided and
stuck to his decision.
Solomon returned to Warsaw and opened in activity among the members of his
movement and tried to bring something of the spirit of war and resistance of
Vilna to the activists of the Warsaw Ghetto. Following a period in Warsaw he
decided to go the Bialystok Ghetto. His Aryan appearance almost blond
with his hair combed back and his courage had planted in him
self-confidence. He spent some time among his comrades in Bialystok and decided
to return to Warsaw, the place he had intended for more lengthy activity.
In her book
Chaike Grossman writes (pages 133, 134): In Ghetto Bialystok I met
Solomon Entin, who was about to leave for Warsaw. I asked him to wait for me,
because in a few days' time I was scheduled to return there myself.
There is no time, they are waiting for me in Warsaw, he replied.
Solomon was what they call an excellent man. He was tall, broad
shouldered, a sportsman, blond, and had a mustache which he grew because of his
job. His eyes were blue. He was a handsome and healthy
[Yiddish for mischief maker]. He moved about between Warsaw, Bialystok and
Vilna. As he was born in Pinsk, he was not fluent in the Polish language. What
use had he for the Polish language in Jewish Pinsk?
En route he chose to keep silent. But his Aryan looks were on his face.
Solomon left. Two days later Sarah Zilber and her sister Rozhka, members of
, laden with paper and reports, left in the same direction.
Two days before my journey a telegram arrived: Don't come. Lunia and
Solomon are ill. Explanations were superfluous, they had been captured at
Raizel (Rozhka) Korchak in her book
Flames in the Dust
(page 77) adds:
Shlomo (Solomon) Entin came to Vilna for a discussion on the work
ahead and the coordination with
in Vilna and Warsaw. He wanted to return there and organize the work with zeal
and to bring them the news of the existence of the F. P. O. (
Fareinikta Partisaner Organizatsia
), Yiddish for The United Partisans' Organization, which was the Jewish
fighters' organization in the Vilna Ghetto. This meant the unification of all
Jewish fighters for one common idea.
In those days I met him often. He had become so serious as to be hardly
recognizable, with his eyes sunken, their blue like steel.
In April he set out with the Zilber sisters on a mission from the
headquarters of F. P. O. to maintain contact and further the idea of
self-defense. They carried with them posters of the Jewish fighting
organization and testimony from the escapees from Ponar (the place of
destruction of the Jews of Vilna).
At the train station of Malkinia he was caught together with the Zilber
sisters. The Nazis discovered that he was a Jew and brought him to Warsaw
to the Paviak jail. Friends tried to ransom him and invested great
efforts in trying to save him, but for naught. The Nazis murdered him.
One friend among the survivors of the Vilna Ghetto said: I recall when
the news reached Vilna, that Solomon had been captured near Malkinia. It was
appalling. From what I had known of him (this friend had known him only in the
ghetto), he was energetic, the personification of strong will, a man who knew
what he wanted and who did without hesitation a great deal.
The Sisters Hanche and Frumke Plotnitzki
In the literature of the ghetto fighters during the Holocaust there is a
special place for two daughters of Pinsk: Frumke and Hanche Plotnitzki.
In order to properly assess the personalities of Frumke and Hanche one must
read the original material, and first of all what they themselves wrote. Their
writings were collected in the book
Hanche and Frumke Letters and Words in Memorium
, Hakibbutz Hameuchad Publications, 1945. The book contains forty-three letters
and writings of Hanche, thirty-two letters from Frumke and ten writings in
memorium, by friends and comrades in the resistance.
Regarding the childhood home of Hanche and Frumke writes their brother Eliahu,
who resides in Tel Aviv:
Frumke was born on 2 Elul, (1914). Our family lived for generations in
the town of Plotnitza near Pinsk. Members of the family were strong of body and
mind. They had dealt in trade in bulls. All the members of the family were
Stollin Chassids. Father studied in a yeshiva until the age of eighteen and was
ordained as a Rabbi. Immediately after their wedding, as was the practice in
those days, my parents went to the Rabbi to ask for advice on how to start out
in life as a young family. The Rabbi said, Be a merchant, and don't
explore the Torah to dig with. Without any doubts or hesitation Father
accepted the advice of the Rabbi, but he was not blessed by the work of his
hands. Following the pogrom of Bulak-Balachovitz in Plotnitza, during the
Succoth holiday in 1920, we moved to Pinsk totally penniless. Hanche, who was
then two, Father carried in his arms.
I had three sisters: the oldest, Zlatke, managed in the better days to
study at a private high school, and was one of its top students. With her quick
mind and winning disposition, she resembled Father.
Frumke, the second daughter, never attended school, because of the
financial difficulties at home. She learned from her older sister. She was
modest, quiet and bore much of the burden of running the house. She was
dedicated without limits like our mother.
The youngest, Hanche, was different from her older sisters: gay, full of
charm and love of life. Father used to call her 'a groyser shaygitz' [Yiddish,
fondly, for a great mischief-maker]. Neither was she able to attend school.
Like Frumke, her teacher was Zlatke.
I remember our house in difficult times, very difficult times. Till this
day I do not understand why Frumke and Hanke didn't follow in the footsteps of
their older sister the Communist, their first teacher, rather than mine
the way of the Land of Israel Labor movement.
I enrolled Hanche in the
(the youth movement of the Rightist
Poalei Zion, the right-wing Laborers of Zion movement) months before my immigration to
Israel, when she was fourteen. Although the language she was fluent in was
Polish, the language she had studied in, she immediately found a common
language with our young people, and became one of them. She was an emotional
person. She knew how to absorb all the good that surrounded her, and to avoid
A few years later, when I began to receive news from our movement abroad,
I was surprised to learn of the activities of my sisters, and especially
surprised me Frumke, the modest and shy sister. How did she come out of her
shell to become a central member of the movement?
Hanche wrote: You remember a different Frumke, obedient, quiet,
introverted. She was then preparing reserves of energy, dedication and
readiness and look what a beautiful composition resulted: Frumke and the
Also outside the house Frumke made her way modestly. Her public work at the
beginning of the 1930s was with the youth organization
, and as the group's representative on the
Committee in Pinsk.
When her turn came to participate in
[Hebrew for a place and period of preparing
for life on a kibbutz, prior to immigrating to Israel] she joined Kibbutz
Tel-Chai in Bialystok. This was a time of formation in the social life of the
kibbutzim, and Frumke found an anvil for her activity. Her first appearances in
her lively Yiddish deviated from the norm, and were deep but simple.
During the crisis years, when there was no immigration, in 1936-7, Frumke began
to visit the branches in the region of Bialystok. In 1938 she went to work in
the Central Office of the movement, but did not agree to live in Warsaw, rather
continued her travels among the various regions, and ran seminars and summer
camps. In May 1939 she led a regional seminar of forty young people from town
of Polesia, which was held in the town of Telchani, adjacent to Pinsk. In June
of that year she spent two weeks in her parents' home in Pinsk.
It is as if I fell upon my parents she wrote in one of her
letters and perhaps the fact that I have lost my home in my
wanderings, augmented my yearnings for my family. How I enjoyed growing up in
the local branch of the United Youth Movement [Freiheit Hechalutz
Hatsair; The Young Pioneer] in our city.
Yudke Helman, from Pinsk and today a member of Kibbutz Gvat, who was on a
mission for Hechalutz in Poland, also recorded his description of the sisters.
My meetings with Frumke were incidental and often short. I had heard that
she had been on the brink of moving to Israel, but that the movement had
(immigration to Israel). The leaders of the movement found it hard to believe
that any wide-ranging actions as were then being planned would
take place without Frumke.
How and why did Frumke arrive in Pinsk?
On September 1st the fear of war overtook Poland. On the sixth of the month the
last meeting of the leadership of Hechalutz convened, in which tasks were
assigned in case of emergency. Frumke was scheduled to go to Kibbutz Borochov
near Warsaw, whose vicinity had been devastated by bombs. We parted with
feelings of sorrow and a heavy oppression, and planned to meet the next day.
The next day found each of us wandering the roads of bombed-out Poland.
Once again I met Frumke before she left on an important mission to the region
of Nazi domination. This was in Pinsk. I had been sent there in order to
rebuild the Polesian kibbutz and to gather together the scattered
In another publication
In Days of Holocaust (B'y'mei Shoah), Voices of Delegates of the Hechalutz
Movement, published by the Kibbutz Hameuchad in 1940, Yudke Helman
At the meeting of the nomadic Central Committee in Kovel we heard of the
fate of the movement in the German-dominated areas. The idea was raised that
someone among the members of the Committee returns to Warsaw. What? To that
hell? Not very likely! We'd better go on to the 'business at hand.' A
persistent silence. Frumke rises and offers to go on this mission. A moment of
cruel anguish. Is it possible to decide here? Frumke declares that no one will
move her from her decision. How much simplicity there was in her leave-taking.
From Kovel she made her way to Pinsk, to say good-by to members of her family,
before entering the lions' den. On this occasion she met with members of the
kibbutz in Pinsk, and imbued them with a feeling of security.
When I accompanied her to the train station continues Yudke
on her way to the German border, German bombers passed overhead. Frumke
hesitated momentarily, looking up at the sky, and said: «If only that
destructive bomber would carry me upwards and would take me from the distance
of time to look down, even for a fleeting glance at my Mother Country, in my
lifetime, I would forgive the monster its bitterness and its
In the darkness of night the train left for Bialystok.
Of Frumke in Bialystok of those days Chaike Grossman writes in her book
(published by Sifriat Hapoalim, 1950):
Upon my arrival in Bialystok I met Frumke. She was engaged in organizing her
meeting place. I met her by the bridge over the polluted river Bialka, which
crossed the ghetto. I recognized her from afar by her somewhat bent-over back
and her head which rested heavily on her shoulders. Frumke was busy on an
important job, organizing the Chalutz in a new place (page 101). And on
another meeting there, she writes (page 61), I recall Frumke of those
days in Vilna. With her dark blond hair, with her long nose and pleasant eyes,
she resembled a Jewess of noble bearing, whose love of Israel and suffering for
Israel were apparent in all her gestures, in everything she said. Another
reminiscence was of her seated in the grey and empty room of Nissan Reznik's
restaurant in Vilna. The restaurant was a soup kitchen for the poor, and he,
Nissan, managed it.
Of Frumke's stay in Vilna of those days, Raizel Korchak (Rozhke) writes in her
Flames in the Dust
(published by Sifriat Hapoalim in 1946):
This wasn't the first time that I had seen Frumke. She made an impression
on all of us with her personality, in the unassuming quiet for which she was
known. Her facial features were not Aryan, her Jewish nose revealed her and
about her. Only a person of strength of soul and reserves of self-confidence
could carry out, in spite of all the dangers inherent in her appearance, all of
the missions which were assigned to her.
She remained in Vilna only a few days. Her travels led her to Bialystok. Her
plans included the region of Volhynia and a series of small ghettos (page
Of her visit in the town of Radomsk of that time we read in a notation from the
estate of Tuvia Bozhikovsky (one of the Ghetto Warsaw fighters) in the
) numbers 2-3, volume 25, June 1963, page 205. Among other things he
In a document which was sent in the spring of 1944 through Polish underground
channels to London, it was written that in January 1942 Frumke had arrived in
Volhynia and determined that in all the towns the Jews had been murdered, and
that only in Kovel remained a large community (The Book of the War of the Ghettos
, published by the Kibbutz Hameuchad, 1954, page 102).
For six hours, which Frumke spent at my house, I completely forgot the
daily problems of the ghetto. The knowledge that powers-that-be among the
Jewish underground movements had decided to serve as a voice for persecuted
Jews and to stick by them in their troubles, had the power of providing
Her hours in the town were measured, as she had much work ahead of her. She
passed through the country on back roads, and everywhere, where there had been
a branch or small group of her movement before the war, and even one single
active member who still survived, she brought the message of her organization
of the movement in the underground. On her missions for the movement she
reached all corners of greater Poland, crossing borders carved out by the
Germans. She was like an engine climbing mountains. She was aware of what
awaited a Jewish woman with forged Aryan documents and in her luggage was
not so kosher material, however she did not refrain from any
travels because of the danger lurking.
On May 19th
, 1942, the ghetto historian, Dr. Emanuel Ringlebloom wrote in his diary:
The subject of these heroic women, Chaike, Frumke and others, is worthy
of a great writer; a beautiful page the Hebrew woman has written in the annals
of the Jews in the Second World War, and the Chaikes and the Frumkes will take
first place in these annals. These women will not know peace; they have just
arrived from Tchenstochov, to the place where they have brought 'the unkosher',
and now it is imperative that they sail within the hour, which they do without
hesitation and without an hour's rest (see above, page 43).
In the above document, which reached London on July 28
, 1942, it is reported that Frumke was selected by the Jewish Fighters
Organization for a mission to the Aryan side of town (together with Tusia
Altman, Leah Perlstein, and Aryeh Vilner). In the face of the destruction of
the ghettos of Poland, the Central Committee of Hechalutz decided to send
delegations to all of the larger towns in the interest of organizing defense of
those ghettos still remaining.
To Bendin we sent Zvi Brandes and Frumke Plotnitzki (above, page 107).
In December 1942 Frumke came to us, to Kibbutz Bendin, relates Renia K.,
in the book
Hanche and Frumke
, pages 145-8.
Exhausted and solemn, she arrived. Her experiences had implanted their
effects on her face. There, were etched regions of horror, which she had seen
on her way. In the kibbutz meetings Frumke told us of what her own eyes had
seen and she aroused in her listeners the desire to die differently: she called
for organizing defense, rather than going as a herd led to the slaughterhouse.
Frumke returned somewhat to herself. She offered her shoulder to the
concerns of the kibbutz and organized important and responsible activities in
the town. With dawn she would disappear to reappear at a late hour after
midnight. She did not talk much about her activities, but they were felt: she
helped those imprisoned in the ghetto. She succeeded in establishing contact
with places abroad. She was as happy as a child with every good piece of news
and she affected us all with her joy.
The whole town knew her. All hearts were full of love and gratitude for
her. 'Di Mama' (the mother in Yiddish) she was called by everyone. Every moment was
dedicated to helping others; and she was able at times to save people from the
claws of death. The members of the movement in Warsaw sent letter after letter
asking her to leave. She may still escape. She mustn't miss the chance! But
Frumke decided to stay. How can she save herself when her brothers are falling
in front of her eyes? She rejected every possibility of escape. Even the chance
to escape to a neutral country she did not accept.
In the publication
Yad Vashem News
number thirty, Jerusalem, March 1963, there appeared a photograph of a
Paraguayan passport which had been prepared and sent by Dr. Zilberstein from
Geneva to Frumke in 1943. At that time many believed that these passports might
save their recipients. About 3000 holders of these lifesaving
passports were transferred to camps for foreign citizens however
from there all were eventually sent to die in Auschwitz. Frumke did not even
use her passport and remained in Bendin.
In March 1943 continues Renia K. Frumke
receive[d] the news of the brutal murder of the Jews of Warsaw. Afterwards the
news reache[d] us of the battles in the ghetto and the death of most of our
friends there. Nothing was mentioned of the fate of Hanche. We already knew the
truth, but we hid this news from Frumke. When she eventually found out, she hit
her chest with her fist, shouting that she herself was guilty of [Hanche's]
death, for sending her to Warsaw.
Nonetheless a man is like steel hardship will temper him. She
revived from the cruel blows of fate. She decided to take revenge, to die with
the murderers! And to this end she dedicated the remainder of her life. We must
prepare for defense, she demanded again and again. And one day she said to us:
people are not people and life is not life life is not worth living
defense is the only answer and the only release! And then she began her
exacting work toward the battle! The happiest news in those days was: of the
heroic death of Jews. Frumke encouraged her comrades to prepare for battle, and
miraculously she received funds to buy weapons and means of defense.
On July 17th
a German arrived in Bendin from Prague, on a mission from the Jewish Relief
Committee in Istanbul, Turkey. After he had wandered around the town for two
days without meeting any Jews, he had thought of returning on his heels,
without accomplishing his mission. Then he ran into a man wearing a
blue-and-white hat with a metal Star of David. But this Jewish policeman did
not wish to, or was afraid to, hold a conversation with the man. Therefore the
German followed the man until they reached a shop where Jewish tailors were
employed. There he spoke with the policeman and asked to be brought to the head
of the Judenrat. Upon his arrival there, he declined to give the man the money
and letter he had brought with him intended only for those included in a
list he had, who were all members of pioneering movements. Since the kibbutz
home was nearby, they called to Frumke and two others to come to the Judenrat,
and also to members of other pioneer movements, so that all would be present
upon receipt of the money and the letter.
The messenger awaited their response. Frumke composed an answer orally, which a
member of the kibbutz, Markus Phoryla, translated and wrote in German.
And below are some paragraphs from this letter:
(Here Frumke goes into the facts regarding the extermination in the various
regions of Poland; the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the end of the last remnants
of the community there; the last Jewish settlement in the region of Bendin and
its condition; and the annihilation in Auschwitz, including of those who had
managed to receive foreign passports.)
Following a long period of expectation, we have received today, with great joy,
the messenger and your letter. To our sorrow, your messenger is somewhat late
in arriving. We have waited years to tell you about our lives and our war.
In all of the regions, of which I have written to you, I have
myself visited and witnessed all of the atrocities.
The Partisans' Wars
, pages 358-9]
Do what you can. I am doubtful, as to whether you will be able to help
us, as we are facing our last days.
When you read this letter, none of us will still be alive.
Our hope of seeing our homeland will not be realized, to our great
sorrow. Warm regards to Latben [Tabenkin], Eliezer [Grabitzky], Bendaresky [P.
Bendori], Yaari [Meir], Kolodny [Moshe], Goldstein [Yitzhak], Pinchas
[Lubianker] and all the family.
We are writing this letter with great haste, for the messenger's time is
limited. We have neither the strength nor the patience to write you at length,
which is what should have been and what we should have done.
You have our warm blessings.
Early on August 1st
, 1943, the actions of destruction and deportation from the Bendin Ghetto
Frumke and six friends, who were with her in the same room in the
kibbutz according to Renia K. grabbed their weapons
and ran to their prepared bunker. The sudden attack of the Gestapo foiled their
plans of self-defense: they had no time to contact the rest of their friends;
however the spirit of the defenders did not fall.
Suddenly they heard the sound of approaching footsteps. Baruch Gaptek,
who was in charge of guard duty, ran from his position, and Frumke ran after
him. 'The Germans are coming! We can already hear their voices. They have
discovered our hiding place!' Baruch shoots and so does Frumke. Two S.S. men
are bleeding to death. One dies immediately, the second is severely wounded and
begins to shout. A gang of the Gestapo storms the bunker. But the friends
decide not to surrender. Shots are fired from all directions. The Germans throw
a firebomb into the bunker and flames engulf it. The bunker burns with its
defenders. The shooting stops. The Germans call the fire fighters, who fill the
bunker with water. The fire is extinguished. On the sooty floor are lying the
half-burnt people writhing in their torture. Frumke squeezes the gun, raises
her head with her last remaining strength, with some life force. She wants to
say something, and her hand does not leave the gun; at once a German jumps up
and crushes her with his boots, trying to remove the pistol from her fist.
For a long time the Nazis tortured the dying martyrs. In the end they shot them
many times and ordered members of the Jewish militia to put their remains on a
That was the end of Frumke.
Following her older sister, Frumke, Hanche too comes to the preparatory kibbutz
early in 1936. She too, like Frumke, is unable to sit quietly, and from the
kibbutz, becomes active in the region, in the Freiheit Young Pioneer
In one of her letters, from October 9th, 1938, to her friend Bracha Richter, which was published in the book
Hanche and Frumke
, she seems to be apologizing for this: We live in perpetual dissonance.
Among most of us there is no natural inclination to public service. Each one
would prefer to work in physical labor of his choosing, to study and to love.
But there are internal obligations, there is the pressure of reality, and
social problems, which demand constant interference on our part.
The image of Hanche, emotionally sensitive, assertive and accomplished, is
mirrored in these letters of hers. We also find among them expression of her
relationship to her home town:
I have a special feeling for Pinsk, the town of my birth, she
writes on November 8th
I love Polesia despite its poverty and its sadness (January 16th
Our Pinsker language is like balm on wounds. It tickles me well and
lights in me the Chassidic flash. Hurray for the swamps of Pinsk!
In September 1938 Hanche goes to work for the movement in the region of Lodz
and stays in a kibbutz there. In one of her letters from Lodz she writes to her
brother Eliahu in Tel Aviv:
Frumke is now a member of the Central Committee. She refused to
work at a desk job in Warsaw; therefore she works in the regions, at the moment
she is running a regional seminar. She has gone to Polesia so that she can go
home to prepare documents for both of us. She has been thinking of aliyah for a
long time. She is going through a very difficult time.
In those days Rachel Katznelson-Shazar (wife of the future president of Israel)
met her, and afterward recalled the memory of their meeting in the book
Hanche and Frumke
I have regrets for Frumke I don't want her to leave the work
with the feeling of 'running away from the front.' And she knows how to work
well and with extraordinary dedication. She is a beautiful person. Her life is
not easy. A person like that cannot be easy. You will see her at the end of the
summer. I repress my own yearning for aliyah. I want to live the moment as it
is, to be satisfied with the work; however the 'towards' in our lives here
sucks our strength. I want life seven times more difficult, but permanent life
in my homeland.
I have changed. You recall me noisy, cheeky, somewhat bitter and
over all this, a veneer of Polish culture. A long time ago this veneer was shed
and the Jewish spark (in each of us is this spark) burns. And here is the
Hebrew. I didn't even pray for this! And even though I still write with
mistakes I have begun to get control of the flow of the
I am not sure whether I am able to convey the impression that Hanche made
upon me. But I do not recall in recent years so moving a meeting with any
person, as that meeting was. This was in Warsaw before the War. Hanche was then
blossoming beyond the first bloom of youth, and she would have been
willing to go to prison, in order to give happiness. The magic in her face, in
her laugh, in the movement of her two braids made one's heart tremble.
But beauty of a woman alone couldn't affect one so strongly.
There was something beyond that and close to eternity, that made one loves her,
in her stand against the world: openhearted, earnest and ready to give and to
receive. And the fact that our meeting was in the Diaspora, and that she was
born in a Jewish town, a nearby town, awoke with the power of magic the
memories and hinted at renewal, at a generation going and a generation coming.
And it was obvious: to her very hands one must entrust the sacred values.
She will carry on.
Yudke Helman, who met with her at the meeting of the Council of Kibbutzim in
Lodz in July 1939, notes after a long conversation with Hanche:
Some of the outlines of Hanche's character suddenly became clear to me:
her passion and pathos, her emotion and innocence, her faith and devotion, her
[Yiddish for Chassidic] soul (above, page 160).
When war broke out, Hanche participated in the final meeting of the Hechalutz
Central Committee and that very day returned to Kibbutz Lodz, even though
public transportation had broken down. But she seldom stayed in one place for
Two months later, in the stormy days of November 1939 writes
Yudke Helman: I met Hanche in Lvov, where I'd gone on movement business.
We were then under horrible pressure of life underground in the new Soviet
region, and in our innocence we thought that there could be no oppression
greater than that we suffered from. Seeing us in this way, Hanche said, 'How
great is the difference between your lives here and the terror there!'
and it is not difficult to imagine it is harder to suffer the insult and
degradation of their lives: the yellow star [they had to wear], the prohibition
of Jews going to the movies, or taking the tram, or taking a walk on the
sidewalk; whereas here, Jewish life is in place, without extermination and
humiliation. And if here too the suffering is great, it is true for the
population at large, and not just for the Jews for being Jewish.
At the committee meeting, which took place at that time in Lvov, Frumke
clamored to send emissaries to the German area. It was decided that Hanche
return to Warsaw. We accompanied her to the train station as if she were
leaving on any routine trip, we joked about the laws of the country and its
customs. Two days later we were certain that she had crossed the border. The
next night, a dark and stormy night, we heard a light knock on our door. We
were shocked to find Hanche on our doorstep. She appeared weary, worried and
crushed. We sensed that she had experienced something terrible and painful. We
did not dare ask what. The next morning she told us what had happened to her:
all had proceeded as planned. Her border transferor, who was an honest and
harmless Christian, had prepared everything with caution, and at the appointed
hour at night she was to have crossed to the other side of the river
when her feet stood in the cold water, a freezing, piercing, torturing
cold overcame her. She withdrew and turned back. Before dawn she was seated on
the train for Lvov. She could not forgive herself this weakness, and felt that
she must make amends. She wanted to go back and try again in the same way. We
would not agree, and it was decided that she remain in the area of Soviet
dominance. I don't think that this decision had anything to do with the above
incident. A few days later Hanche set out for Bialystok to give a messenger
some material and news for Frumke in Warsaw. At the end of this errand she was
to return to Lvov. She did not return from Bialystok. Later we found out that
she had crossed the border and reached Warsaw (
Hanche and Frumke
, pages 166-168).
With her return to the General Government [Nazi controlled part of former
Poland] she assisted in the renewal of devastated branches of the movement.
In June 1942, in the days of the transports of Jews from Warsaw, to 'an unknown
fate' writes Renia K. in the book
Hanche and Frumke
page 100 the Center of the Chalutz movement predicted the evil
approaching with all its horror. It was then decided to close the last
organized preparatory kibbutz at Gruchov, and to transfer the people from there
to Warsaw. Hanche, who had also been at Gruchov, was sent to Bendin. After
dangerous adventures, she came to us. Hanche's good spirits did not leave her
even in those bitter days. She brought us up from our depression: let's not
lose our grip, friends, she repeatedly told us. She knew all the members of the
kibbutz. She knew how to uncover the special part of each of us, to recognize
the positive, and to courageously root out the negative. She did not reconcile
herself to the break in cultural activity of our branch of the movement. After
a long, tiring day of work she would gather the branch members for a talk. And
when she spoke of the Land of Israel, of kibbutz life and of the members
settled in the farms, her face shone with a warm light.
She repeatedly asked the members of the movement to prepare themselves for
battle and defense. She was one of the first to take her own advice. She never
stopped maintaining ties with the scattered members of the movement in the
region, with the remnants of the branch in Warsaw and with her sister Frumke.
One day she arrived in Bendin with Frumke. That must have been the happiest day
in the lives of the two sisters! I recall how both of them sat together and
shared with each other for hours, all that they had experienced.
Frumke had been sent by the Central Committee from Warsaw to Bendin, in order
to find her way to the land of Israel. Hanche urged her to make haste, but
Frumke did not respond to her pleas; instead she decided to remain in Poland!
Meanwhile the bad events increased. Hanche, who had until then borne all her
sufferings heroically, took to bed, sick. Nightmares tortured her by day and by
night, and in her fever the horrible scenes of what she had seen in Gruchov and
on the roads, passed over and over again in front of her eyes.
In the kibbutz there was hunger. And even before she had recuperated, she was
forced to stand on her failing legs by the water heater and do laundry. We had
In March 1943 Hanche was called to come immediately to Warsaw: the Central
Committee had decided to send her abroad, in order to alarm world Jewry.
It appeared to Hanche that the idea was to force her to save her own life, and
she refused to hear of saving only her own life. But we all urged her to agree
to the offer and go. And especially Frumke urged her to go. In the face of her
sister's request she couldn't resist, she couldn't cause her sorrow. With deep
sadness she began to prepare her knapsack; after finding a suitable dress, she
dressed up as an Aryan and left for Warsaw. And she succeeded! A short time
later we received a letter. Frumke was delighted: in a few days the group of
foreign nationals which she was supposed to join, was scheduled to go to the
prison camp Hanche will be saved!
However events turned out otherwise.
The Book of Ghetto Wars
, pages 176 and 744, is the following account:
After weeks of searching, all of the routes for Hanche's travel abroad
are found to be unrealistic, and on the 18
of April she plans to leave for Bendin. Lacking a place to stay for the night
on the Aryan part of Warsaw, she returns to the ghetto, and the very next day
the uprising breaks out. On the 20
, together with the fighters Adek Himmelfarb, Heniak Klinweis and Meir Schwarz,
she tries to break through to the Aryan part of the city. On their way to
Kremlitzka Street, where there was a tunnel, which led outside the ghetto
walls, they ran into a German patrol. Hanche fell in an armed
Chaim Lazar, one of the active members of the resistance in Ghetto Vilna,
writes of him:
Nissan Reznik was born in Pinsk in 1919. He studied at the Tarbuth
Elementary School and at the technical high school. From early on he was a
member of the
[National Guard], later known as
[The Zionist Youth].
When the war began on September 1st, 1939 Nissan was in Pinsk. On the 17th
of September the Russian Army invaded Poland from the East, and Pinsk became
part of the area of Russian domination.
Two streams of refugees flooded the former Polish lands at that time: one
flowed from the areas of German occupation eastward, to the areas of Russian
occupation. Here, under Russian government, they at least hoped to find shelter
for their bodies. The second stream of refugees flowed toward Lithuania, which
in those days was still independent and flourishing, and it appeared that the
storms of war would pass her by.
In the large river of refugees, which streamed toward Lithuania, the part of
the Zionist youth movements was transcendent. They hoped that Lithuania would
serve as point of departure from Europe, which was subjected to a devastating
bloody maelstrom. Vilna, the capital of Lithuania, was the gathering place for
hundreds and thousands of young refugees, and in the city they reorganized
under the leadership of the youth movements, which had left the territories
invaded by both the Germans and the Russians. In Vilna the
[Escape] Organization was established; crossing points of borders were planned;
and messengers and guides were sent to greet the newcomers, who at that time
were arriving in organized groups. In addition, the foundations were built for
emigration to the Land of Israel in regular and irregular ways, with forged
papers, via Russia, Turkey and China, which were at that time the only
countries of passage.
Among the first groups to reach Vilna was one group of forty young people from
the Young Zionists of Pinsk, led by two talented young people, with initiative,
energy and a rich background in the movement: Solomon Entin and Nissan Reznik.
Some of these young people reached the town during the short period during
which it was under Soviet domination, before they gave Vilna to the
Lithuanians. Because Pinsk was also under Soviet government, their trip was
simple and legal. They simply purchased tickets, took seats on the train, and
traveled to Vilna. Others reached Vilna after borders were demarcated, and
experienced hardship and dangers on their passage across the 'Green Border.'
Lithuanian and Vilna Jewry received their fellow Jews warmly and with opened
arms. Before long the newcomers found their place in the social life of
Lithuanian Jewry. To the newcomers was extended, together with the fundamental
physical assistance, moral support. And if this was true of 'regular' Jews, it
was certainly true of members of the youth movements. The movements saw in
those who came the potential for renewed vigor, and organizational,
administrational and educational strength, to promote their movements and
enhance their strength.
Nissan Reznik found many essential areas of activity for himself and for his
movement. He represented his organization before the Joint [JDC Joint
Distribution Committee] and did his best to obtain maximum support from this
organization. For almost a year he managed his movement's branch in Kovno,
where he enjoyed the fruits of his work and activities. He spent days and
nights at his diverse political and public work.
The work became more difficult and more complicated when the Lithuanians forced
the kibbutzim to leave Vilna and to disperse over Lithuania's towns and
forests. Nissan's kibbutz went partly to Shavli and partly to Zeimelis
now the area of Nissan's influence included Vilna, Kovno and also Shavli and
The good days of the Lithuanian government soon passed. Moscow accused
Lithuania of provocations and without pause to enable the Lithuanians to
disprove these accusations, the Red Army proceeded to march on Lithuania, and
by June 1940 (the end of the month of Tamuz) the Soviets had taken control.
The Zionist movements were now prohibited by law. All work took place
underground. Coordination among all of the Zionist youth movements was
initiated, regarding allocation of the infinitesimal number of Certificates to
Palestine; but mostly its task was with illegal immigration, in seeking ways
out of the country, in forging documents, such as passports, visas, etc.; and
in maintaining the Zionist spirit and its teachings among the young people.
Nissan represented his organization in this
[Coordination]. As usual and as always he was one of the main speakers and
doers and took care of the needs of his movement with the dedication and the
loyalty that characterized him.
Nissan became a permanent resident of Vilna, in one room with two other
Pinskers Entin and Grushko, but this was only a pretense. In truth
Nissan divided his time between Kovno and Vilna. On a daily basis he traveled
back and forth on matters of
and other business of his movement. His activity increased with time, which
became ever more pressing. Since the arrival of the Russians in Lithuania,
everyone felt that this was the beginning of the end. No one knew what the
future had in store for them, but many hearts were full of dread; therefore it
was important to extricate as many people as possible from the country. This
required immeasurable efforts.
On June 22nd 1941 the German Army began its march toward Russia and first to
fall were the borders of Lithuania. The Jewish public was surprised and
shocked, overcome by fear and helplessness.
In the general confusion, consultations were held, over whether to retreat with
the defeated Russian Army eastward or not.
Nissan and Entin resisted joining the tide of escapees. They could not desert
their comrades who had remained behind. They had to remain with them and guide
During the first period following the German occupation, the activities to
extend assistance to the people and to ensure their well being decreased. It
was not possible to organize large-scale activities. All that was done under
these extraordinary conditions was done privately and individually. But the
activists still had their value. Nissan did not sit with his arms folded. Now
too, and perhaps especially now, he felt the weight of the responsibility on
his shoulders, and the possibilities to help were so few, so limited, and the
needs were so great and numerous!
With the construction of the ghetto, the Judenrat opened soup kitchens for the
needy. One of these kitchens was opened at 2 Shtrashun Street, and Solomon
Entin was chosen to manage it. This kitchen became the seat of all of the
Zionist youth groups. In this kitchen were held the discussions and arguments
leading to the formation of the United Partisans' Organization,
F. P. O. (Fareinikat Partisaner Organizatsia) in Ghetto Vilna. Here, in this kitchen, the Zionist Youth decided that Nissan
Reznik would be their representative on the board of the F. P. O., which was
established on January 21st
, 1942. His underground name was Chaim [a name meaning life], and
that is how he appears in the battle articles of the organization (the original
was brought to Israel and may be found in the Moreshet Archives).
One of the F. P. O.'s first activities was sending a delegation to
Warsaw, to find out about the extermination and to spread the news of the
establishment of the resistance movement (see above in the section on
Upon Entin's departure for Warsaw, Nissan Reznik was assigned to head the soup
kitchen and immediately he became one of the best-known personalities in the
ghetto, as one of the dedicated and loyal people who were willing to help
others at any and all times.
Following the establishment of the F. P. O., the underground movement
captured the hearts of the young people, who joined it, giving it much of their
energy, strength and time. Furious efforts to enlist more people and obtain
weapons began. Lessons, exercises and meetings were held. Means to resist had
to be appropriated, and caution was required.
In the conditions of the ghetto this work was extremely difficult. It was
difficult to trust unknown people, and purchase of weapons was especially
complicated, but without means of defense there was no point or justification
of the existence of an organization teaching the ways of resistance.
In spite of the monumental difficulties the organization rapidly
developed. Its membership grew, and there was an atmosphere of mutual trust
among the members, despite differences of viewpoint. All understood that in the
hour of danger to the whole people, the hour in which the demon was carrying
out his destruction, it was necessary to form a unified front. And one of the
leaders of those directing this holy work was Nissan Reznik.
Following the major actions there was quiet in the ghetto for a few months. The
Jews adjusted to the conditions. New hopes arose in the hearts of the men. The
ideology of pacification, maintained by the leadership of all the ghettos,
overtook the Vilna Ghetto too.
Meanwhile, in the very hours when the ghetto leadership was promising quiet and
peace, the Gestapo was finalizing its plans for the next step in the
extermination. The work of the underground became more difficult and more
dangerous. At this time there was need of additional efforts to warn the
people: to awake them from their lethargy, to admonish them over their
complacency, and to convey to them the fate that awaits them, to instill in
them awareness of the total extermination awaiting, and to call them to
resistance and uprising as the only path, and the only possible way to
die with dignity and perhaps even to survive. Nissan was one of the leaders of
this school of thought and of those bringing proof of the atrocities.
In Summer 1943 the ghetto suffered a severe crisis. The Commander of the
fighters' organization Itsik Vitenburg was turned over to the Germans. Everyone
felt that this was the beginning of the end. The Germans began sending
thousands of people to work camps in Estonia. The F. P. O. decided to send its
members out to the forests.
Nissan headed the second group to leave for the forest of Naroch (Belarus).
They had to pass through some 200 kilometers of enemy territory, a route laden
with German patrols, dangers and fears.
Already on its first night outside the ghetto the group encountered a group of
enemy soldiers. The group then broke up into two parts and with extreme
difficulty reached the forest.
In the forest they were received with hostility. A short time after their
arrival in the forest the Jewish unit was disbanded, the weapons which they had
collected through great hardship and danger, and had brought with them to the
forest, were confiscated, and the Russian Partisan Units under Markov refused
to accept the Jews to their ranks.
They had not recovered from this reception, when the
the massive German offensive on these forests, began. All of the partisan
battalions broke up into smaller groups and left to seek shelter until the
danger passed. No one cared for the Jews; not one peasant in the area offered
shelter. Hence many were the Jews who perished in this German attack.
Nissan and some of his men were able to make their way beyond the siege and to
hide out in the area of swamps, where access was difficult. Gradually the
partisans began returning to their bases, life in the forests returned to their
former routine, still the Jews were not accepted to the ranks of the fighting
units. Their losses were heavy, but this brazen insult was an extremely hard
blow. The Commander of the Brigade recommended that the Jews organize as
productive platoons, that is as tree-cutters and water carriers for
the Christian partisans.
Nissan was not prepared for this. He had not come to the forests to save his
own life and to become a protected Jew. In his bones burned the fever of the
fire of revenge, he must fight the enemy whatever else! He carried on a long
and wearying bargaining process with the officer of the Lithuanian Brigade
Kazimir over the establishment of a Jewish fighting unit or of inclusion of the
group of Jewish men in the fighting units. The officer understood Nissan's
feelings, but was not willing to respond. However Nissan would not desist, he
took advantage of every proper and improper opportunity to exert pressure on
the officer, until in the end the latter consented to accept a few Jewish men
to the battle units.
Nissan was now in charge of a Lithuanian partisan unit which numbered 120 men
and was active in the vicinity of the Kazian forest. Until the invasion of the
region by the Russians, Nissan spent days and nights at battle against the
German enemy. He did not neglect any opportunity to meet them on the
The days of Liberation arrived. In ruined Vilna the survivors began to
assemble; survivors of the partisans, survivors of the bunkers and the camps,
and in the hearts of everyone was the desire to escape from this horrible
place. No one wanted to rebuild his life on this land soaked with the blood of
his brothers, relatives and friends. But where would they go? Nissan became one
of the mainstays for the survivors, and one of the mainstays of the new
underground organization whose goal was to extricate the Jews from the areas of
Russian domination and lead them on the route to Palestine. And as if this were
the continuation of the underground from the days of the ghettos, now too all
of the Zionist political movements became partners in this new organization,
but only the Zionists: thus the foundation for the
[Escape] organization was laid.
As a scout for this group, Nissan set out to search for routes out and to
organize border-crossing points. He reached Rovno and investigated the
possibility of moving out via Chernowitz to Rumania where there were ports of
embarkation for Palestine. On his way to Rovno, he stopped to see the
devastated city of Pinsk, running away after half a day.
In Rovno Nissan met with local Jewish partisans and together with them
established the essential points of transit. Nissan then returned to Vilna.
Individuals and groups began to follow the route that he had paved for them.
Tens of people went that way and reached Rumania until the day when a group was
stopped by a border patrol and exit was forbidden.
Now the routes of escape led to Poland. Repatriation of Poles from the Russian
areas began. The leaders of the escape operation, Nissan among them, saw in
this repatriation the possibility of almost mass immigration of Jews from
Vilna. Preparation of falsified papers began. Tens and hundreds of young people
overnight became citizens of Poland and made their way to Lublin where
the survivors were now concentrated. In Lublin a Central Jewish Committee was
set up, which located places to absorb the newcomers. Here the center of the
Breicha organization was located and as one of its leaders, Nissan had to be
In his unsurpassable energy and tireless work, Nissan quickly became one of the
central figures one of the standout leaders of the survivors in Poland.
Together with his activities with the general Breicha organization, Nissan also
reestablished his movement, the Zionist Youth, from its ruins, giving it
organizational forms. He established kibbutzim, and gathered members from among
the veteran and young survivors who had recently come under the wing of his
movement. He served as their teacher, guide and educator, who saw to their food
and dress and also gave them spiritual nurturing. He got them out of Poland and
to the vicinity of the Mediterranean Sea, so that they could find their way to
Thus Nissan passed through the lands of Europe together with the Central
Committee of the Breicha from Poland to Rumania. In Bucharest there was a
center where delegates from the Land of Israel were engaged in facilitating
illegal immigration, and so that country naturally became a magnet for
From Rumania Nissan went to Italy. He worked in the framework of the Diaspora
Center and became a member of Refugees and Pioneer Organization, managing the
activities of his own movement, the Zionist Youth.
Nissan was not only a preacher he himself also practiced what he
preached. After a stay of over two years in Europe during which he was
constantly active, he reached the Land of Israel. His way led directly to the
kibbutz, to Nitzanim. These were the days of pre-state Israel, when security
matters were the main concern. Nissan took upon himself the burden of security
in his kibbutz, of military training, of preparing shelters, of organizing
guard duty, etc. Arab armies invaded Israel; the Egyptian Army attacked the
south of the nascent country, reaching as far as Nitzanim. The members of the
kibbutz stood heroically against superior forces; some of the men fell at
battle, the remainder ran out of ammunition, and the kibbutz fell into the
hands of the Egyptians. Those who didn't manage to retreat on time, were taken
Apparently, the suffering and torture of Nissan were not over; after the agony
of the ghetto and the forest, after he had witnessed the destruction of his
people in Europe: it was his fate to suffer eleven months in an Egyptian prison
camp, in Abasya, on the lines of a German concentration camp. As ever before,
now too Nissan's spirit did not fall. Here too he found a field of activity for
his public work. He assisted in organizing orderly camp life (considering the
conditions), and in organizing various courses of learning and career training,
with faith in their impending return to Israel.
Upon his return from his imprisonment he was chosen by his movement as a
delegate to the countries of South America. During the three years he spent in
these countries, he organized youth groups, established preparatory kibbutzim,
and sent organized settlement groups to Israel, where they were absorbed by the
kibbutzim of his movement and in the economy of the country.
When he returned from this mission, he was chosen to be the Chairman of the
Ashkelon Regional Council. With the same dedication and loyalty which had
characterized him in the past, he saw to the needs of the settlements of the
region and succeeded in promoting their interests. His period as Chairman of
the Regional Council is well remembered by all.
In the last few years Nissan has resided in Ramat Gan.
LIST OF SOURCES
How the Communities of Pinsk and Karlin were destroyed, by Aryeh Dolinko in
Yiddish, (manuscript). Introduction and translation into Hebrew by Zeev Livneh.
Published by the Society of Former Residents of Pinsk and Karlin in
Eretz-Israel, Tel Aviv, Sept. 1946 (mimeograph).
Evidence given by David Gleibman-Globe, New York, 1962.
Evidence given by Yehoshua Neidich, Tel Aviv, 1955.
Evidence given by Motl (Max) Shukhman, Montreal, 1961.
Evidence given by Chayah Sherman, Tel Aviv, 1955.
Evidence given by Golda Sherman Galetski, Tel Aviv, 1955.
Evidence given by Tamar (Tema) Garbuz Kobrinchuk, Tel Aviv, 1955.
Evidence given by Yehoshua (Shaya) Gurevich, Linz, 1945.
Letter written by Dr. Elhanan Einbinder to his parents in Russia, Oct. 12, 1942
Evidence given by Yosef Hofman, Yad Vashem Archives, No. 297/139.
Evidence given by Hershl Turkan, Yad VaShem Archives, No. 1790.
Minutes of evidence given in Tel Aviv District Court, March 1962.
Minutes of evidence in Magistrate's Court, Haifa, March 1962.
Leizer Levin The Destruction of Pinsk, in the Collection
Life in our Branch published by Pinsker Branch 210, New York, 1948.
Records of the partisan Shalom Galetski.
My Way as a Partisan From Ural to Pinsk
, Rome 1946 (manuscript).
Answers to a questionnaire about partisan activities by Golda and Shalom
Evidence given by Fani Solomian Lotz.
Memoirs of a Jewish Partisan
by Melekh Bakalchuk Felin, (in Yiddish), published by the Association of
Polish Jews in Argentina, Buenos Aires, 1958.
The Summing Up (Abschlußbericht) of the Attorney for the Prosecution, Dr. Arzt, Ludwigsburg, Germany.
Evidence recorded at Police Headquarters, Tel Aviv, April 1962.
In the Small Ghetto, Tsila Dolinko.
Twenty Years Later
Memoirs by Milya Ratnovski Cohen.
Evidence given by Aharon Kalivach, Holon, 1964.
Menashe Unger, The Rabbi of Karlin Refused to be Saved, article
published in the Jewish daily
Tog-Morgen Journal, New York, August 8, 1959.
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