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[Page 163]

“The Split Came!”

By Yoel Zeif

Translated by Judy Grossman

… Later on a branch of Hechalutz was also set up in Dusiat, which was meant to help those who wanted to immigrate to Eretz Yisrael. By means of the Hechalutz branch in the shtetl they got in touch with the center in Kovno [Kaunas], went out to hachshara, and those who were lucky enough to get certificates – made aliya.

I should mention that in my time Hashomer Hatzair was already a political movement, and the Z.S. (Zionist Socialist) party had influence in Hechalutz, and more than once there were quarrels in the branches. Here in Dusiat I was also the head of the ken of Hashomer Hatzair and also the head of the Hechalutz branch, and that in fact worked. In our shtetl harmony reigned.

At that time the major dispute in the Hashomer Hatzair movement was between an open kibbutz and an organic closed kibbutz. Hakibbutz Harusi [The Russian Kibbutz] was in favor of the open kibbutz, and Hakibbutz Haartzi was in favor of the closed kibbutz.

Shayke Glick: The kibbutz in Panevezys was solely Hashomer Hatzair, and the kibbutz in Shantz was a mixed kibbutz: Hashomer Hatzair and “Stam Chalutzim” (“unaffiliated pioneers”).

The question also came up in our ken. What was our standpoint? It was decided that the ken of Dusiat would support Hakibbutz Haartzi.

I recall that during the arguments no doubt about our right to Eretz Yisrael ever came up. We knew that we were buying the land. The arguments turned more around the image of Eretz Yisrael. There were violent arguments about the educational question, about socialism and Marxism, and about the economic problems of life in Eretz Yisrael. There was a major argument about the idea of bi-nationalism.

The arguments were followed by a split in the movement, giving birth to Netzach[1], and the Dusiater Yitzchak Poritz, was one of its leaders and active members. I participated in the conference on the split. This split gnawed at us, and it separated friends. Noah Poritz and I were very good friends – we had set up the branch of Hashomer Hatzair in Dusiat together, and visited each other homes - and now - following the split, we were like enemies!

It is hard for me to explain today why we chose to belong to Hakibbutz Haartzi. Perhaps because the majority in the entire movement supported Hakibbutz Haartzi, and the explanatory material we received was mainly that of the majority opinion, and so it had a great influence. That is perhaps why we decided that way about the direction of the ken in Dusiat.

Daniel Ben-Nahum: I attended the World Congress, and remember the occasion of the split, which was very dignified and emotional. Yaacov Hazan (Hakibbutz Haartzi) made a farewell speech, and Lasya Galili (Hakibbutz Harussi) stood up and shook his hand in parting.

Meeting of Counselors with Head of Hashomer Hatzair Yitzchak Aronowitz, standing in the center (in Aniksht [Anyksciai])

Beside him, standing are Hirsh Osherowitz (on the extreme right), Noah Poritz and Dvora Levitt (third and fourth), from Dusiat.
Seated: Baruch Klass and Gershon Shalit (from Abel [Obeliai]).



  1. N.Z.Ch. – Noar Zioni Chalutzi – Pioneer Zionist Youth movement Return

[Page 164]

The Netzach Movement[1]

By Yitzchak Porat

Translated by Judy Grossman

It is hard to begin writing about the movement in Lithuania, when touching on any memory from there calls to mind the rustling of falling leaves in a violent gloomy autumn in a large cemetery… but we need to give a grade to the movement, which sent its members to our kibbutzim in Eretz Yisrael…

In the summer of 1930, when the enormous tension was felt in the Hashomer Hatzair movement in Lithuania, among the movement activists were those who did not feel comfortable with the separatist orientation of this movement. They were a minority, but they foresaw that the world movement was being led to a split. It didn't require much preparation to transfer the movement in Lithuania to be “under the aegis” of Hakibbutz Haartzi. The naivety of our people helped with everything.

We didn't accept the idea of setting up a parallel, rival movement, a minority fighting against the majority, and so our people chose to leave the Hashomer Hatzair. Farewell banquets were organized, there was friendly talk that our paths were separating, and how painful this was, and we separated in a very warm and friendly way. The next morning, when the desire to act arose, these branches were already closed to our people, with locks and chains. After three months of deliberation and searching, the founding congress of the movement Netzach took place in December 1930. The movement already had 22 branches then, with more than 700 members. …

The fact that the branches were mainly in the small towns gave them a special character: a friendly approach, hospitableness, and close personal ties with the movement's activist and emissaries. We didn't ignore the cities either. But Lithuania was not a proletarian country, even though in addition to the shopkeepers and merchants there were also tailors and shoemakers, and we succeeded in organizing their children to a certain degree and rescuing them from the “red” assimilation…

Lithuania, the land of lakes and rivers, forests and parks – soft beauty and caressing nature, which brings people together and expands knowledge – left its mark on its residents, also the residents of the small towns…

The summer camps, three or five days a year, gave flavor to the other 360 days, and their echo and memory have not faded. And now there were also the winter camps. To take “mama's children” out into the forest for a few days in January, when the temperature was twenty below zero [Celcius], required a new approach, a real revolution in the life of the shtetl in Lithuania …

All this had to be done in partially underground conditions, because our movement had no legal status for all the years of its existence. We had to work “under the noses” of the police, and to deceive the secret police.

Those were years with no likelihood of immigrating before long to Eretz Yisrael. When it was decided to have a permanent hachshara, the parents and relatives – who had come to terms with the fact of going to hachshara – now fiercely objected to this hachshara “which lacked any purpose”.

With the help of direct contact with members of Hechalutz, the rightness of our approach stood out clearly, via the “mixed hachshara”, in which there was a general bearing of the burden of the hachshara, but nevertheless retained the Hashomer Hatzair essence at the hachshara, as preparation for life in a kibbutz in Eretz Yisrael. The movement always had a group of devoted and zealous activists, who through typical Litvak stubbornness strove for progress, expansion and growth. This activity did not cease even after the Soviet occupation of Lithuania and after our movement went underground. This activity was also continued by the few individuals who survived, and carried out the work in the camps after liberation, and were among the organizers of the Nocham - Noar Chalutzi Meuchad, and NoachNoar Chalutzi, movements in Poland and Germany…


Workers on Hachshara in Kibbutz Ironi “Chaim”, in Ponevez [2]

Rivka Melamed (second from the right), Zeldka Charit (ironing). Seated below (second from the left), Rachel (from Ukmerge).




  1. [56] Porat (Poritz), Yitzchak. Our Movement in Lithuania, “HaKeshet” 1951, p. 185 Return

  2. A kibbutz ironi is an urban kibbutz. Each kibbutz hachshara had its own name. Kibbutz Chaim in Ponevez [Panevezys] was named after Chaim Arlozorov Return

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