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[Pages 381 – 383]

“We Want to Go Home!”

By Yeshayahu (Shayke) Glick

Translated by Judy Grossman

“H a b r i c h a”

“At the end of World War II, the 'great escape' (Habricha) of Holocaust survivors began, initiated and led by the pioneering youth movements. The majority attempted to reach Eretz Yisrael, in any way possible. Although the idea was born in the forests of Lithuania among a group of movement members led by Abba Kovner, few came from Lithuania itself, less than one thousand people who were exposed to great risks that did not exist in other countries. Survivors from among the fighters in the ghettos and the forests, soldiers of the Red Army, and the remnants from the death camps came to Eretz Yisrael after the war, and only recently – with the immigration from the Soviet Union – did the gates open for the survivors among the Jews of Lithuania.”[1]

Survivors began arriving in Vilna (Vilnius), and so I met Dusiater (fellow Jews of my shtetl) and other relatives. One day I was walking on the street when Sheinale Schmidt and her brother Eliyahu came towards me (their brother Chaim was married to the daughter of one of the Glicks). Later on I also encountered Leibele Slovo. Leibele was active in the “Bricha” movement, and in this way my room began to serve as another “meeting point” for the movement members, and they began to include me in various actions. When the population exchange between Poland and the Soviet Union was ratified, they took advantage of this opportunity to smuggle Jews out of Russia. One day Leibele came to me and told me of a girl, a member of Hashomer Hatzair from Kovno (Kaunas), who needed to be transferred to Poland. What did they do? They made up a “family”, composed of an old woman (the “grandmother”), the girl and myself. That's how I left Vilna for Poland. This was in 1946.

“At the end of 1944, a repatriation treaty was signed for the return and mutual exchange of nationals between the Soviet Republics of the Ukraine, White Russia and Lithuania on one side, and the Polish interim government on the other. In Europe 'migration of nationals' was considered to be the 'best solution' for the problems of ethnic minorities … This treaty covered several million people in Poland and the Soviet Union, among them a quarter of a million Polish Jews, who had sought refuge in the Soviet Union during the war. It also applied to Vilnius and surrounds which up until September 1939 had been part of Poland, and was now being apportioned between Lithuania and White Russia…”[2]

From Poland I went to Germany where I lived in a refugee camp that had previously housed members of the SS who were captured by the Allies. I remember that the refugees demanded that conditions be improved, and they went on strike. One day I was called for a meeting with one of the Hashomer Hatzair activists, and we traveled together to a small town, where a garin[3] had been organized – a group of young people from Hungary. I remained there. When the garin was consolidated, I went with them to Aschweigen. Our camp was set up at the flugplatz (airport). Members of Hechalutz movement had also set up kibbutzim there.

 

From right to left: A Chalutz from Poland, Shlomo Harhas, (-), (-), (-), Shayke Glick, Tuvia Baal-Shem

 

“Kibbutz” in the Displaced Persons Camp in Germany
Orka, Willy Bogler's daughter, at the “kibbutz”
in the “Luftplatz” near Aschweigen, Germany

Shayke: I would be happy to meet Orka again.

 

We survived to see the sunshine again …
Shayke Glick
(left)

 

When the ship “Exodus” sailed for Eretz Yisrael, I was invited to come to Munich, where the top leadership of Hashomer Hatzair was based. Most of the movement members were in Hochenwald, near Fernwald, and I was asked to organize a new group of immigrants there, in the hope that the “Exodus” would reach its destination. However, after the failure of this voyage, the plans changed and I went to Munich. That evening the head leadership held discussions, and it was decided that I would go to Bergen-Belsen and join the movement activists there. They promised me that I would immigrate to Eretz Yisrael after one year of movement activity.

 

Holding a Demonstration after “Exodus”: “We want to go home!”
Shayke Glick
(front)

 

I moved to Bergen-Belsen and worked there with other veteran members of Hashomer Hatzair.

Yehezkel Bentor: The top leadership of the movement sent Hashomer Hatzair ties and emblems to the Displaced Persons' camp. Our members from Beit Zera, Zemach Harari (Berger), Shmuel Yarovski, and Yehuda Tubin, worked as emissaries. Zemach worked in Vienna, as an UNRRA[4] officer, and Shmuel and Yehuda worked in Munich on behalf of the Jewish Brigade[5]

My turn to immigrate to Eretz Yisrael arrived. I embarked on a regular passenger ship in Marseille. I bring to mind that Shlomo Charhas was also with me. We reached Haifa on January 7, 1948, and standing before us we could see the Carmel Mountain. What excitement! There was unrest in the city, shooting, and we were not permitted to disembark. We remained on the ship for the night. That night I had two weird dreams: I was shot, a bullet went through my boot, which filled up with blood, and it hurt me. In the second dream, my mother came to me and said that she was hungry, and I had bread under my arm, but I knew from home that it is forbidden to feed a dead person. I woke up utterly exhausted in the morning! I disembarked, reached the Egged[6] bus station, and decided to go to Petah Tikva, to my sister Adina Rashman. The bus was full and I sat in the back. While we were traveling, we suddenly heard shooting. I remember that I managed to notice that the fire was coming from small caves in the mountain. We all lowered ourselves, but I was wounded in the leg, and at that moment my dream came to me.

I was taken to the Magen David Adom station[7] for treatment; they bandaged my leg and sent me to Beilinson B. Hospital (today Hasharon Hospital). A bullet had apparently entered my thigh and crushed it. I needed to be operated on, hence I was given a local anesthetic. I heard the doctor telling his colleague to ask me in Yiddish where I was from. They could guess from my appearance and the quality of my clothes that I was a new immigrant. I said in Hebrew: “You can ask me,” and my Hebrew disclosed my origin. The doctor apparently was also from Lithuania – Dr. Noah Feller, who had been the head of the Hashomer Hatzair “cell” in Kovno.

Footnotes

  1. [43] Me'Reshit ad Acherit: Sefer Korot Hashomer Hatzair B'Lita. p. 24. Hakibbutz Ha'Artzi Hashomer Hatzair, 1986. [From Beginning to End: the History of the Hashomer Hatzair Movement in Lithuania.] Return
  2. [24] Shoah: 1941-1945, in Yahadut Lita, Vol. 4., p. 470. Return
  3. Nucleus of people organized to immigrate together to Eretz Yisrael and settle in an existing kibbutz, or to found a new one. Return
  4. United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. Return
  5. A brigade of Jews from Palestine who served in the British army. Return
  6. Israeli bus cooperative founded in 1930's. Return
  7. Red Shield of David – Israeli equivalent of Red Cross Society. Return

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