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[Page 313]

In Memory of the Fallen

Translated from Hebrew by Jerrold Landau

Edited/Donated by Jeff Deitch

The war came to an end.
We made families and raised children.
Over grueling paths, we made aliyah to the Land of Israel to build a new home.
On the day of need, our children stood to defend the homeland. Not all of them returned from war.
 
I Weep over My Son's Passing

To where and for whom
– are you, my tears
My weeping
– for where, and for whom
Do I bring you?

For where and for whom
– Is my bereavement
Is my loneliness
– For where, and for whom
Am I bowed down?

For you I bring them
For you I'm bowed down
– For you, to me
– I'm bereaved
And my tears
I send forth.

     – A father

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Amitai Kort
Son of Arieh and Esther

 

He was born on 7 Nissan 5696 [March 30, 1936] in Ramat Gan. His parents, working people, educated their son in the spirit of the workers' movement. From childhood, he was attracted to agriculture and kibbutz life. When he finished his elementary school studies, he wanted to continue at the Kadoorie Agricultural School. But when he considered the feelings of his parents, who were unable to part from their son and send him far away, he agreed to continue his studies at the Shevach School in Tel Aviv. His teachers advised him to dedicate himself to technical studies at a high level, but he didn't agree to this, since he was inspired with the spirit of practical pioneering. At this time he left the Hatzofim movement, to which he'd belonged, and joined the Shomria group of the Hashomer Hatzair movement, which was headquartered in Kibbutz Zikim. He remained with them until he was drafted into the Nahal Brigade of the Israel Defense Forces. In January 1955 he completed Beit Melacha Meshuchlal, as well as his technical studies, so that he could help his kibbutz in the future. In the army, he passed a squad commander course, followed by advanced training. When the murderous enemy attacked the archeological convention at Ramat Rahel, he went with his unit to take retaliatory action on 21 Tishrei 5717 (September 26, 1956). He was injured by grenade fragments at the battle of Husan, but refused to withdraw. He continued to urge his unit to advance, and continued the attack until he was struck by enemy bullets. In one of his letters he'd written, “The true test of our movement is standing in the ranks of defense” – and he showed his steadfastness when he fell. He was buried in the cemetery at Zikim. On the first anniversary of his death, his parents published a booklet in his memory. Kibbutz Zikim also published a booklet in in memory of him and three other members of the farm who fell. His memory is included in the book The War of the Paratroopers by Uri Milstein [published in Hebrew in 1968].

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Chaim Robowitz
Son of Moshe and Shoshana

 

He was born on 2 Av 5689 [August 8, 1929] in Jerusalem. He studied at the Tachkemoni School. At age 10, he lost his father. He studied labor at the Amal School and began to work in place of his father at the age of 15 at the Egged Company, to relieve the burden on his mother. He then became a driver. He trained in the Gadna military program, enlisting during the War of Independence with a clear understanding of the aims of the war. He participated in actions in Mekor Chaim and others.

He fell with his friends on March 18, 1948 with a convoy taking provisions to Hartuv. They were attacked by 500 ambushers, and fought bravely until the final bullet. He was buried in Sanhedriya in Jerusalem. On 12 Elul 5711 (September 13, 1951), he was transferred to eternal rest on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

 

Zvi (Yehoshua-Heshel) Zeif
Son of Chaim-Abba and Hasia

 

He was born in Braslav, Vilna District, Poland, in 1912. He studied at yeshiva until the age of 16, but was forced to end his schooling due to his family's difficult circumstances. As the oldest child in the family, he supported his parents. He didn't find satisfaction in work alone, but became active in the Hechalutz chapter in his town, which was in a weakened condition. He put a great deal of effort into the national foundation. He served in the Polish army for two years, and fought in its ranks against the German army in 1939. He was taken prisoner by the Russians and moved from camp to camp in Russia, enduring hunger and cold. When a Polish army was organized in Russia, he left with it, reaching the Land of Israel in 1944. For a year after his arrival in Israel, he worked at Kibbutz Tel Yosef. He was diligent there, but left the farm due to loneliness and became a dairy farmer in Ramat Gan. He joined the Haganah, taking part in the conquest of Tel Litwinsky, Chiria, and other places. He was among the first to go to the front, when the Yarkon was the front line.

He was drafted into the Israel Defense Forces

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as a full recruit, even though he was exempt from the draft due to his vital work as a dairy farmer. He said, “If I, a trained soldier, don't go – who will go?!” and he proved to be diligent, alert and full of energy. He fulfilled all tasks faithfully and with dedication. He fell during the time of the second truce in Mishlat Midia on 20 Elul 5708 (September 24, 1948) and was buried in Nahalat Yitzhak Cemetery on September 26.

 

Arieh Levin
Son of Yaacov and Zivia

 

He was born on 29 Elul 5706 (September 25, 1946) in the Ural Mountains of Russia. He moved with his family to Poland, and set out for Israel at the end of 1958 and early 1959. After a brief time in the Hadassah educational institution of Aliyat HaNoar (Youth Aliya), he went to Kfar-Ruppin, at first through a youth group and later in a boys' class. His father arrived in Israel a few months after his aliyah. He was a beloved and good son. The father concerned himself with his son, and his main desire was that he be dedicated and faithful to his nation. Arieh studied in high school, completing his grade 12 studies in Beit-Berl in Tzufit. He was quick to learn, speedily absorbed schoolwork, and became an Israeli youth in all ways. Work wasn't a problem for him, he excelled in diligence, and was happy and open with everyone. He knew how to lose himself in songs, games and dances at the many parties that took place there. He knew not only how to sing and dance but also how to discuss difficult matters without sparing language or compromise, for he had been taught this by the world. He seemed to overcome all difficulties. He joined a good group of people and fit in with his environment. In November 1965 he was drafted into the Israel Defense Forces, serving as an exemplary squad commander at Golani. There were obstacles in his path, but he bravely tackled them all, taking part in the Six-Day War and fighting on the Golan Heights. His unit was prepared to advance at every attack; as the enemy attempted to conquer territory from our land, his unit and others returned fire in kind in a proper fashion. When the day came that his unit broke through the heights, it succeeded in closing accounts with the Syrian enemy and reached Quneitra with the first of the fighters. Throughout the war, the unit had no opportunity to rest in its efforts day and night to achieve all tasks assigned to it, which it accomplished honorably, and Arieh fulfilled all his roles with excellence throughout the period. When the unit was asked one day to provide choice staff for a special exercise, the best men were selected – including Arieh. Everything was carried out properly, exceeding expectations. He left the war peacefully, but then came an unexpected incident that felled him. He was severely wounded and lay unconscious for several days. On the morning of 20 Tevet 5728

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(January 21, 1968) he died in the hospital from his wounds. He had carried out his role until the final moments with characteristic dedication and excellence. He was brought to eternal rest at the cemetery in Kfar-Ruppin.

 

Shmuel Berkman
Son of Halina and Boris

 

He was born on 15 Adar 5708 (February 26[1], 1948) in Riga in the Soviet Union. He made aliyah to Israel with his parents in 1958. The family settled in Kiryat Yam and later moved to Kiryat Chaim. Shmuel, or as he was called by his parents, Yonele, was their firstborn son, their dear, dandled child, to whom they dedicated the best of their time and efforts. His sister was born 11 years after him. After a year of study in Riga, Shmuel completed his elementary education at the Maflusim School in Kiryat Yam. His talents were uncovered there, even though he had no small difficulty in getting used to Hebrew. Shmuel continued to study at the Rodman High School in Kiryat Yam, but it soon became obvious that he tended toward a practical profession. He transferred to the engineering school affiliated with the Technion and was an excellent student. His friend Miki related, “I knew Shmuel from his childhood. When I try to find a constant trait in his personality, what stands out is his drive to advance and succeed. Shmulik came to the engineering school after two years of general high school, without the technical background imparted by a trade school. Because of his aspirations and drive, he quickly excelled in all technical subjects and was named the best student in the class.” Shmulik's activities weren't restricted to studies alone. He was a member of the movement for studying and working youth. He took part in regional target shooting contests organized by Gadna and played the accordion. His sister says he was an ardent patriot. He loved to go on hikes throughout the country, and he was always ready to debate enthusiastically the future of the nation. During the Six-Day War, when his request for an early draft was rejected, he volunteered to work in an ammunition factory.

Shmuel was drafted into the Israel Defense Forces in mid-February 1968 and joined the Ordnance Corps, where he passed a course as a provision technician. He carried out this role throughout his service. Concurrently, Shmulik wrote a book to explain the principles of the Sherman tank cannon and theories of its maintenance, published by the office of the chief ordnance captain. As stated in his certificate of release, “He fulfilled his role in an exemplary fashion and with dedication. He is of a high professional caliber.”

Shmuel finished his term of obligatory military service in mid-February 1971. Entering civilian life, he began work at the Soltam enterprise. Along with this, he prepared

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for studies in the faculty of production engineering at the Technion. He was accepted into the Technion, becoming an excellent student. In August 1972 he married his friend Hadassah, who was also a student. They continued their studies, building a family life together. He lived in Neve Shaanan at this time. During the Yom Kippur War [1973], Shmuel joined his unit on the southern front. On 26 Tishrei 5734 (October 22, 1973), during one of the battles that took place between Ismailia and the Great Bitter Lake, his tank was hit by a missile and Shmuel fell. He was brought to eternal rest in the cemetery at Haifa. He left behind a wife, parents and a sister.

Moshe Dayan, then Minister of Defense, wrote in a condolence letter to the family: “Shmuel was a dedicated soldier and faithful friend. He was admired by all who knew him.” His beloved sister said of him: “Shmulik was like a father to me. He helped me on my path and was a symbol of modesty. To his friends, he was a leader. Just as I admired him and followed all his orders and requests, so did his friends. But Shmulik was a pleasant leader. He was by nature a warm, family man who honored his parents. He maintained strong relations with our parents and me after getting married, and I was always proud of him. When Shmulik entered the house, the house was full of light.” His commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Tuvia, wrote in his memory: “He was thin, with narrow eyes that narrowed even more when he smiled, which he almost always did. He had a well-groomed forelock, and a sly expression – this is how I first knew Shmulik. His dominant trait was self-assurance. I recall many occasions when we engaged in debate, when Shmulik tried to prove that he understood the issues better. He didn't hesitate to debate with his superiors when he thought he was right. 'Come, let's wager you're not correct' – he'd defend himself with theory and argument, seeking to prove that nobody understood the problem better than he did. The debates were always about our work; but if he was proven wrong, he knew how to lose gracefully. At times, I found myself thinking: where did this young man get the inner strength to debate with such self-assurance officers who were older than him? The pride, self-confidence, and talent were so typical of him. With a constant smile on his face, Shmulik drew close the hearts of his friends, and brought a cheerful atmosphere to his surroundings, while expressing a healthy sense of humor” (from the memorial book published by the Government of Israel and Ministry of Defense).

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Editor's footnote:

  1. February 26 is given in the original, but this doesn't correspond to 15 Adar 5708, which is also given in the original, so one of the dates is presumably off by one day. return

 

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