« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »

[Page 146]

The Zionist Organization

 

Memories from Hashomer Hale'umi (Zionist Youth) in Mizoch

by Lisa Nemirover

Translated from Hebrew by Eiden Harel Brewer, Noa Etzyon and Ofir Horovitz

When I remember the first few days of Hashomer Hale'umi[1] in Mizoch, I am taken back to my childhood. The years at the Polish school, reading many books about the heroism and sacrifices of Polish kids on behalf of their nation and country. I can still remember the strong impression the book “the Ship from the Green Hill” left on me. This book described the lives and responsibilities of the Polish scouts. Oh, how jealous I was of the Polish people! All I wanted was for us Jews to also have a scout program, working on behalf of our nation and country. To my joyful surprise, I found out that there was an upcoming initiative to institute a Hebrew scouts group called Hashomer Hale'umi. It was 1928, and I remember how happy and proud I was standing in front of my parents asking their permission to sign up. A Hebrew sabra[2] will never understand how overjoyed we were. We were thrilled to be able to sing a Hebrew song, and to march with a Hebrew flag. We were elated knowing that we Jews also have heroes, and we were working together to build us a homeland in the remote, yet near Eretz Israel. However, our happiness was short lived: the Polish government required a special permit for a Jewish movement, and receiving one was very difficult.

Our first gathering was at the house of Bechan. We began working to furnish and decorate it, but the police shut it down before we were done. We did not give up and we rented a new room at Langer's. There we worked quietly for a longer time. However, eventually, the police found out about our new location. Thus, we decided to work underground using private homes and even going outside. We were young, we had no guidance, support, financial means, or experience. Of all the other parents, only my father (may he rest in peace) was supporting us financially and giving us advice.

[Page 147]

He worked hard helping us to get the official permit for our organization and took on the role of the Executive Chair. To this day, I can still feel the bursting excitement and exhilaration we felt when we got the permit. We were elated to display the big, beautiful sign at our club's door, with the Scouts' symbol. The sign declared the club Poland's “Histadrut Hashomer Hale'umi”, Mizoch Branch” in Hebrew and Polish. From then on, the club became our regular place to meet. There, we had conversations, we danced and sang, and we also dreamt about our future in Israel.

 

Certificate of membership in “Hashomer Hale'umi” (Zionist Youth)

 

Maintaining the club was costly beyond our reach. Many of our members were poor, and some could not get the money from their parents to pay the membership fee. So, we began working various jobs –mainly woodchopping– and we used the profits to keep the club running and also to establish a nice library. We were represented in all the Zionist institutions in town, and we were considered one of the best organizations. We were in close contact with the official leadership in Warsaw, from which we received materials and guidance for work. The Galil Leadership in Rivne also helped us in our everyday work. In our work we emphasized teaching the Hebrew language to all our members - the Shomrim. Nearly every Sabbath, we hiked through the forest, and we marched through town with our national flag.

[Page 148]

The “Hashomer Haleumi” branch in Mizoch

[Page 149]

One summer, we had a big celebration when the Ostroh branch came to visit us. They built their tents in the Sosinski forest. Those days, we spent our whole days and nights working with them in the forest.

I remember one morning a rumor spread in town, according to which the Polish scouts had attacked and vandalized our camps. I ran to the forest with all my might. When I got there, the war was still going. Member S. was attacked by a Polish man with a big knife, while trying to defend himself with a small, thin stick. I did not have time to think, and I jumped and disarmed the attacker. Ever since that incident, we were highly respected among the non-Jews. Even the Polish man who attacked member S., later came to our house, and asked me to not testify against him in court. Thanks to this incident, we were now more respected among the Jewish people, and our organization attracted older members. My sister, Rachel was one of the active members in that new cohort. She worked hard and was one of first immigrants to the Land of Israel from our branch.

 

Translator's Footnotes

  1. Hashomer Hale'umi translates literally to National Guard and was a Zionist youth movement in Eastern Europe similar to other international scouting movements. Also see jewishvirtuallibrary.org/scouting. Return
  2. Jewish person born in Israel. Return


Gordonia

by Reuven Melamed

Translated from Hebrew by Adam Lamb

In the early 1920s, after the establishment of Polish rule in western Ukraine, activity of the Zionist movement started in Mizoch. Our “Union” party was one of the first parties of this movement in Poland. Its founders were Shmuel Gentzberg, Yosef Kleinman, Shlomo Koppelman, and the writer of these columns. In 1928, with the expansion of the Zionist movement, the committee decided to establish a youth organization in order to teach the youth in the spirit of the movement of Aaron David Gordon.

In those days, there didn't yet exist in Poland a comprehensive center for the Gordonia organization or a unified youth movement. The movement then had several youth organizations in different names, under several different leaders. On the matter of a youth movement, we contacted the center in Warsaw. From there, they transferred us to the leadership of “Gordonia” in Galicia, and eventually the center in Galicia, under the leadership of Pinchas Lavon (then Lubianiker), organized a national youth movement called “Gordonia” all over Poland. The branch in Mizoch was therefore one of the first for this movement in Poland.

In the beginning, we concentrated on bringing the Hebrew language to the youth, conducting “conversations” about historical Zionist topics, and about the lives of the leaders of the Zionist movement.

[Page 150]

Only with the activation of the National Center's operation in Warsaw did we started to evolve in the right direction: we then received training material, instructions, and help in day-to day organizational work. Our practical work was expressed in actions for the Jewish National Fund and in education for agricultural work. Since the beginning of our first step, we preached for a working life in agriculture, so we decided to rent land and to grow vegetables in it with our own hands. Responsibility for the implementation was placed on members Shlomo Koppelman and Reuven Melamed. We then rented 10 dunams of land from a Jew, and without any experience, without guidance, and with restricted means, we started to grow all kinds of vegetables with considerable success. In this field of work, members Sara Kestenbaum, Deborah Koppelman, Sara Teller and Blyoma Likabornik excelled. On market day, there were our girls sitting together with the peasant women from the surrounding area, selling their produce to the customers. The Jews of the town enjoyed this spectacle a lot, and this was the talk of the day. From the money we received in exchange for the vegetables, we bought books for our library, and we signed up for all the publications of the labor movement in Poland and also the newspaper “Davar”.

When Reuven Melamed and Blyoma Likabornik left for training, a reorganization occurred in the branch management and the management accepted more, younger members, Yitzhak Port, Yacov Millhalter, Yechiel Likabornik, Taibel Kournik, and Rachel Gentzberg. The new leaders took it upon themselves to expand the framework and to integrate developing youth into the ranks of the movement. The mission was successful and then in 1933 “Gordonia” in Mizoch peaked in its development and numbered over a hundred people. At that time, the talents and dedication of Yitzhak Port (of blessed memory) started to stand out, and a lot of the success of the movement should be attributed to him. In addition to our work for the Jewish National Fund, we also participated in the celebrations of Lag B'Omer, the 20th of Tammuz, etc. Particularly memorable is our parade on Lag B'Omer, which was also attended by “Gordonia” from Dubno and the movement's training squad, which was organized on our initiative in Mizoch. The beginning of the training squad was disappointing. However, over time 40 members were accepted into the organization, from all parts of the country. We received work on the railroad and in Kapot's sawmill and also temporary work in the town. Among the members of the training squad there were several with education and teaching experience and with their help the squad organized different cultural enterprises. For example, Seder night in the squad was always unforgettable and attracted a large inquisitive crowd. Also, members of other organizations would come to participate in the squad's Seder celebration.

In 1933, Yacov Fishfaider immigrated to Israel. A year later Alter Gurevitch and in 1935, Deborah Koppelman, Haya Reznick, and Tova Likabornik. Before them, during the time of the Maccabiah in Israel, Reuven Melamed and Lioma Likabornik immigrated. As the graduates of the “Union” party and a large part of the leadership also made aliya,

[Page 151]

“Gordonia” at a farewell party for Comrade Gurevitch's aliya

[Page 152]

the young people of the movement who were educated in it from childhood took the helm: Gentzberg David, Moshe Feldman, Kornik Yosef, Gelman Yacov, Likabornik Yosef, Shvartzman Eliezer, Brinshtein Meir, and Abrach Aharon. Then, a difficult time began for us. The authorities put obstacles in the way of our development, the experienced ones among us immigrated to Israel, some split away from all activities, and many became indifferent. However, the activity did not stop and continued without a break. In 1936, Flaish Sara, Abrach Aharon, and later Moshe Likabornik, who is now a lieutenant colonel in the IDF, immigrated with Youth Aliya.

Shortly before the outbreak of the war, Avraham Shternberg also had managed to immigrate. With the outbreak of war and the division of Poland by the Germans and Soviets, Mizoch fell to Russia, and then the summer came to an end. The youth and all Zionist activities. The “Gordonia” archive was in Yacov Gelman's possession at the time, and he destroyed it with a hardened heart and great pain. The flag was cut into pieces and all the activists received a piece as a souvenir. Some of the members did not want to and could not come to terms with reality and were looking for ways to get to Israel. Gelman, Shvartzman, and Kournik got as far as Lida, which was then a smuggling station into Lithuania, but failed in their mission. At the end of the war, the survivors began to immigrate to Israel and almost all the survivors now reside in the country and some of them occupy important places and respectable positions in the country and in society.


The “Gordonia” in Mizoch

by Yosef Ben Gedalyahu

Translated from Hebrew by Adam Lamb

In our town of Mizoch, almost all the young people were organized and affiliated with a Zionist youth organization. We had the “Union” party with its “Gordonia” youth movement. The Tzahar Alliance with its Betar youth movement, Meir Grosman's Hebrew State Party and “The National Guard” (Zionist Youth). Relations between the various parties and the youth unions were quite strained and only in certain areas such as fundraising and distribution of monies etc., was there any cooperation.

I joined “Gordonia” in 1929, when I was a ten-year-old boy; due to the lack of a government permit, the work was conducted in hiding and only on Shabbats and holidays. Serving as lecturers and instructors were Shmuel Gentzberg, Shlomo Koppelman, Yosef Kleinman, the late Avraham Gentzberg, and Reuven Melamed, who is very much alive and now a member of the Mishmar Hasharon Group. My group instructor was Jacob Likabornik.

[Page 153]

“Gordonia” in Mizoch at the center for counselors from the “Union” party

[Page 154]

The latter devoted all his time, energy, and knowledge to us. I especially remember the excursions we would make every Saturday at dawn; we would get up at 5:00 in the morning and hike until 8:30. At 9:00 we went out with our parents to the synagogue, for Shabbat prayer. We kept to this arrangement strictly, in order not to provoke the parents' objections to our actions in the movement. The success of our group raised morale, and despite the lack of a permit the number of members in “Gordonia” then reached close to one hundred. In the early 1930s, a training program of about 35 members was also organized with us. Among the members of the training program was Comrade Israel Zeltzer from Zdolbuniv, who had a lot of education and knowledge and also served as an emissary on behalf of the main leadership. Thanks to him the training program was on a high cultural level and the branch enjoyed him quite a bit. According to reliable information, he perished in the Warsaw ghetto during the uprising, participating and acting on behalf of the movement. Blessed be his memory.

As for inter-party tension, I remember the case when we invited the “Gordonia” branch in Dubna to come to us and celebrate Lag B'Omer together. The local leadership placed the responsibility for performing these celebrations on my group, called “Awakening”. We worked out an entire plan and we determined that the next morning we would go out to the forest and clear our camp on the hill in the middle of the forest, which had beautiful stairs and a suitable grass surface. Easy access, etc. We would arrange a field kitchen and welcome the guests with a hot meal made by us.

However, Betar became aware of this decision. When we arrived at the place, the hill was already enclosed by ropes and on it was the camp of the Betar platoon… We immediately gathered for an urgent meeting and decided not to get into a fight with Betar, and instead we immediately went to work strenuously to prepare another place for our camp. Our whole group worked then at night and so did Israel Zeltzer, arriving on foot from Rivne, who joined the work despite his fatigue. At the dawn of Lag B'Omer, our camp was standing. We were able to build it at the entrance to the forest, we built a beautiful and large gate on which the national flags were hoisted. Out of pinecones we strung together the symbol of the movement that hung in the middle of the camp, and we were filled with joy. We came out ahead, because, since our camp was set up at the entrance to the forest, all those who came to celebrate the holiday in the forest visited us.

The activity of the parties always intensified in preparation for the distribution of funds and reached a peak as election time approached the Zionist Congress. Although the main work was placed on the shoulders of the adult members of the parties, the members of the youth movement also worked hard. Members of the “Union” party, who had close ties with the residents of the city, took advantage of every opportunity to distribute funds. Moshe Mendyuk, who is currently

[Page 155]

The “Awakening” group in the “Gordonia” branch

[Page 156]

in Uruguay and who was a member of the municipal charity fund committee, distributed money to all those in need of the fund, without exception. The late David Gentzberg and I, who were among the worshippers in the Kloyz[1] of the Trisk Hasidim, were assigned to distribute funds in those circles. With the help of Michael Nemirover, a member of the Zionist Youth but a good friend of ours, we succeeded in the task.

As election time approached, all parties sought to bring to town the best of their leaders, well-known names, good speakers, to influence voters.

In 1938, sometime before the 24th of the month of Shevat, the day of the death of A. D. Gordon, we learned from the main leadership circular that Comrade Pinchas Lubianiker would attend a convention of training groups from the “Nativ” organization in the nearby city of Dubno. We immediately went to Warsaw and asked that Comrade Lubianiker also come to Mizoch. Based on a courteous, authorized but non-binding answer, we issued a permit for Lubianiker's lecture, but two days before the day of the lecture, a telegram arrived, which read: “Lubianiker in Romania – Lev will come”. On the advice of one of our comrades, we did not reveal the matter to anyone. First, the permit for the lecture was in the name of Lubianiker, and as for his replacement with another speaker, it would be enough for the police to revoke the permit. Second, we did not want to jeopardize the promised success for Lubianiker. And this is how it became known to many, only when the chairman of the assembly gave the floor permission not to Pinchas Lubianiker, only to Attorney Lev… The assembly itself was successful on all counts, but of course we failed tactically. However, after many efforts, we succeeded in bringing Lubianiker to lecture a few days before the election for the Congress, and he was a huge success.

The night before election day, young people had a night of guard duty. We painted all the fences, walls, sidewalks and roads with different slogans and posters. We made sure to keep an eye on anyone considering leaving the city at dawn to bring outsiders to the polls, and we did not stop the publicity until the last minute. The police forced the Jews to wash the slogans from the sidewalks and the road, but since we put a special glue in the whitewash, they could not wash the text, but rather the water added luster to the posters, and the cops came to terms with our work.

Gordonia's impact on the city was very notable. Apart from our training squad, we also had influence in the drama club under Mr. Fidelman's management, in the charity fund, in the bank, and in all the municipal institutions. The branch and especially the training squad enjoyed the support and help of several well-known families; among them I will especially remember the help of Shmuel Bonis and his wife, Shmuel Pliter and his wife, the Nemirover's, the Gentzberg's, the Breisman's, Shpanover, and others.

[Page 157]

The branch saying goodbye to Reuven Melamed and Lioma Likabornik, who are making aliya

[Page 158]

The soccer team called ZKS (Zhidovsky Club Sportovi) was along party lines and was at a high level. Among its outstanding players that should be mentioned are Asher Kantor, B. Langer, J. Mizoch, and Yishayahu Milgalter, the son of ritual slaughterer [kosher butcher] Yosef David, who was deaf and mute from birth. This guy, despite his disability, was accepted in society, because apart from being a tall and handsome guy, he knew how to dance beautifully, play chess and in almost all sports took a top place… Shortly before the war, our team overcame the team of the Polish cavalry, which camped in our town, causing a savage attack on our players by the Polish mob. The approach of the war and the antisemitism that grew in Poland put an end to the party quarrels and caused a mutual rapprochement and sincere friendship between the members of Gordonia, Betar, and the National Guard. With the occupation of Mizoch by the Red Army, several attempts were made to reach the state of Israel via Lithuania, Romania, or Russia, but all failed. Yacov Gelman, Eliezer Shvartzman, and I secretly left Mizoch and reached the city of Lida, because we were aware that in this city there were members of the movement from the center, who smuggled people to Lithuania. Even the people closest to us did not know about our departure.

 

A newspaper wall in the “Gordonia” club

[Page 159]

Gordonia's training squad in Mizoch

[Page 160]

We arrived at Lida in one piece and rented a room in a Jewish hotel. We spoke Hebrew to each other, so that the Gentiles living in the hotel would not understand our words.

When the maid, who worked cleaning the rooms, heard our Hebrew conversation, she turned to us in the same language and asked where we were headed. Later in the conversation with her, it became clear that she was placed in this job on behalf of the movement, to direct members to the headquarters of the operation.

Half an hour later we met David Klonitzky – now living in Ma'aleh Hahamishah – and we were scheduled to cross the border in a few days through the town of Ashmyany. Unluckily for us, the Red Army conquered Lithuania and it became Soviet the day before we were about to cross into Lithuania…

Disappointed, we returned home and tried to leave the country via Romania, but we failed here too. In the meantime, many of us were drafted into the Soviet army, war broke out between Russia and Germany, and Mizoch was defeated. Out of the thousands from that cheerful village full of life, 19 survivors remain. Most of them are now in Israel and are rebuilding their lives in our free country.

 

Translator's Footnote

  1. The Study House Return


The Gordonia Movement in Mizoch

by Moshe Feldman

Translated from Hebrew by Shira Zur

The Gordonia chapter in Mizoch was organized in the year 1928 at the initiative of leaders from Hitachdut: the members S. Gentzberg, I. Kleinman, S. Koppelman, and R. Melamed. There were fitting circumstances that allowed for the creation of the movement, because the majority of the young adults weren't connected to any other organizations and sought to organize a Zionist cultural and educational movement.

[Page 161]

From its beginning, the movement pronounced itself a pioneering movement in the spirit of A.D. Gordon, and the chapter gathered 120 members filled with Zionist spirit and ambition to act and implement their goals. 

The first activists in the chapter were members of the Magshimim group made up of older teens and high school graduates. These members were the heavy lifters of theoretical ideas, conceptual thinking, and training of educational forces in line with the movement. A majority of the group went out to training locations and immigrated to Israel. The others stayed because of all sorts of reasons – mostly because of their families – and continued to work in the chapter. 

The members of the group that immigrated to Israel were: R. Melamed, B. Likabornik, T. Shinfeld, M. Shinfeld, T. Likabornik, A. Shternberg, Y. Fishfaider, C. Reznick, S. Teller, D. Koppelman (z”l)[1], Gurevitch Alter. Later on, Y. Malgelter, Giebel Riesel. 

The vibrant energy of the chapter came from the Mitorerim group, which consisted of teens ages 12-16 years old, including me. They were young boys and girls who all spoke fluent Hebrew, and whose teachers were Y. Gelberg, Y. Shohat, M. Gornzel, L. Dayan., L. This group was well-known for its exemplary behavior, and its members acted as role models for other Mizoch youth movements that were active at the time, such as Hashomer Haleumi and Beitar. In addition to the pioneering education, we were given instruction related to sport and physical education. The clubhouse of the chapter flourished and gained traction, attracting all of the teens in town, mostly due to comrade Yakov Gelman's hard work.   

Our expenses were funded through work we did during our free time from studies, such as cutting down trees, digging holes, and all sorts of different jobs that were necessary for the residents in the town. Education came through lectures and conversations that were conducted by the knowledgeable members from “HaMagshimim”; they helped expand the knowledge of the younger members. We put emphasis on scouting; we strived to take the members out to outdoor events in the fields and forest to build their relationship with nature. In the summer we'd go early every Saturday morning to the nearby forest to practice scouting skills, and during our breaks we would hold conversations and classes taught by the following members: I. Port, Y. Likabornik, Y. Likabornik, B. Kantor. 

Lag B'Omer became a big event; during the holiday, all the youth groups from the area would meet at the nearby forest. We would walk through the town and towards the forest in a beautiful procession, portraying discipline and exemplary order; it made a strong impression on not only the Jews, but also on the Polish and Ukrainian communities in the area. 

[Page 162]

In the forest we would spend all day singing and dancing, and participating in various sports activities. Our group would participate in every Zionist activity in town, such as donating to the Jewish National Fund, organizing Purim and Hanukkah dances whose profits were given to the Jewish National Fund, and fundraising for the Zionist congresses. 

We were very active during the Zionist congress election days. Thanks to that activity, we also connected the parents to the Zionist movement, and the Zionist ideas also filled their ranks.

During this time, we moved from the Giebel House to a bigger meeting space in the center of town in the Bernshtein House. The chapter continued to grow and more young members continued to join, fitting well socially into our group. Our academics and our parties for the 24th of Shevat in remembrance of A.D. Gordon developed a reputation for having a rich artistic component that we ourselves produced, under the direction of Y. Malgelter, Tova and Isaac Port, Eizenegret Gittel, and Reznik Haya. During the parties, we would invite the members from the Hitachdut party, the Hachshara[2] group, and our parents. Attention was given also to handing out the movement's newsletter, Slovo Mlodych, which came out in Polish and was sent to us from Warsaw. We had a strong bond with the Hachshara group of the movement that was formed in Mizoch by the main leadership at the Batzan House. The party had 30 members who lived as a collective and trained to immigrate to Israel. They worked at the Kapot sawmill, at a sugarcane processing plant, and at the train station loading apples and grains onto export train cars. Party members worked hard to gear the public's attention towards our local branch's fundraising efforts. 

From an organizational point of view, we were in contact with the main leadership in Lodz and Warsaw, and we spoke directly with the regional leadership in Rivne.[3] We participated in regional ceremonies that mostly took place in partnership with shlichim from the Land of Israel, and one of the chapter's significant experiences was the visit of member Pinhas Lubianker (Pinhas Lavon) in Mizoch from the main leadership of the movement. Moving the chapter to a new location in Gilman House strengthened the chapter in an organizational way; the clubhouse was decorated in good taste, and a lot of thought and work went into decorating the Jewish National Fund corner. During the same time, Yisrael Zeltzer (z”l)), from the main instruction organization, was sent over; he contributed a lot to the strengthening of the chapter through his instruction, and his lectures drew the club members closer to the movement and its ideas. Through the chapter's initiative, members from the younger grade, A. Abrach, Sarah Fleisch Shoham, M. Likabornik-Gat, moved to Israel. 

In 1939, as the Soviet army entered the town, it became necessary to discontinue the Zionist movement. The chapter's archives and flag were hidden, and the town's Zionist movement was uprooted.

[Page 163]

Some of the members left in secret in the direction of the Lithuanian border to Grodno with the intention of getting to the Land of Israel, but they weren't able to and they came back. Some of them went to the Russian steppes and from there, through many twists and turns, were able to achieve their mission. 

The teen members who stayed in Mizoch, and among them the members of Gordonia, were captured by the murderers and were murdered with the rest of the Jews in the town. Those that remained alive from the group are: A. Abrach, Yakov Gelman, M. Feldman, E. Shvartzman, Y. Kornick, Y. Likabornik, M. Likabornik-Gat, Sarah Fleisch Shoham, Y. Berzner, M. Bernshtein, B. Tentzer-Shvartzman, Y. Feldman, Latochin (Morak) Haya, T. Gentzberg, Shtivel Anita. 

 

Translator's Footnotes

  1. Of Blessed Memory (Rest in Peace) Return
  2. Agricultural training in preparation for aliyah. Return
  3. Community representatives Return


[Page 171]

The Mute Beitar Member
(From the Cycle, “The Wonders of Our Movement”)

by Asher Ben-Oni

Translated from Hebrew by Jonah Silverstein

Here he is at seventeen; handsome, healthy, smart, and devoted to Beitar like few others in the movement. But G-d punished him and he was born deaf

 

Yesheyahu the deaf-mute

 

and mute. When the Beitar organization was founded in Mizoch, one day “Yesheyahu the Mute” (as he was known in the town) entered and submitted an application, signed in his own hand, to join the cell and they accepted him to fulfill all of the obligations of the cell. Afterward, his father, the ritual slaughterer, entered and informed us of his son's hardships and suffering since no one would accept him into any organization. But, without even waiting to answer they informed him himself that he was accepted. His eyes full of silent sorrow lit up, and suddenly tears– tears of joy and happiness– were seen in them. He stood for another moment, stared into space, and uttered a few strange syllables– then left. Who knows what those syllables meant.

[Page 172]

The next day, Yesheyahu appeared in the cell in full Beitar uniform. Weeks passed and months; he lived in the cell, participated in the discussions and meetings, participated in trips, and became– another. The melancholy left him, he cast off the nervousness and the agony. Afterward, happiness and joy were always on his face.

I visited the town, and after my lecture in the cell hall, Yesheyahu approached me and showed me the picture of the head of Beitar and asked if I had met him…the commander who stood next to him indicated that he should explain the difference between Beitar and Gordonia. Yesheyahu made gestures to hint at Aliyah and work. He wanted to say that Gordonia wants to travel to Israel and labor there. He straightened up– and with piercing eyes, he surveyed me to determine if he had made an impression on me. He then gestured to the Beitarists who surrounded me and continued. He paused and took the stance of a shooter, by which he meant that we (Beitar) travel to Israel both to work and to defend it…when I saw him sitting during a conversation or a lecture I almost didn't believe that he was deaf and mute, he showed such great interest and attention when he listened.

Slowly, with extraordinary diligence and patience, he learned the Hebrew alphabet and how to write syllables, names, concepts, and more. In the Beitar cell, there were already people who understood him and who he understood. Because of this, he was familiar with all the internal affairs of the cell and the movement.

Then came the days of Tammuz, 1933. The cell stood at a dangerous front with plotters who brought proof of the Revisionist Zionists' guilt for the murder.[1] It was dangerous to be seen in the street in a Beitar uniform. It is not known from where, but the fact is that the mute Yesheyahu understood what had happened and what was going on. He was the first to wear his ceremonial uniform in the street. He would buy “Moment” newspaper[2] and ask us to explain to him what was written on it. The hakhshara[3] unit then lacked working hands. Yesheyahu joined the line as a volunteer and urged all his troop to do the same. His dedication and hard work served as and continue to serve as an exemplar to this day. Meanwhile, the cell was preparing for their trip to Rivne to attend the lecture of the head of Beitar. Yesheyahu decided to travel there to put before our leadership a request for himself to be allowed to make Aliyah.

Rivne was bustling with crowds of Beitarists. The leftists incited and attacked a few Beitarists. There was also a rumor in the city that the leftists and the reds would disrupt the speech of the head of Beitar.

[Page 173]

With his healthy instincts, Yesheyahu sensed the seriousness of the situation. His eyes were embittered, gloomy, and he finally disappeared. After many searches to find him, they found him standing guard in the hotel lobby where the head of Beitar was staying. He did not then appear before the head of Beitar. However, he returned home happy because he had seen the leader.

Now he is undergoing professional training, gaining both knowledge and voice training– who could compare to him? In the P.S.C. Battalion,[4] he was the most outstanding and completed each action without error and with vigorous precision; in the defensive exercises, there was no one like him in the cell. In his pocket, you would find a Beitar certificate, a Dinar, vouchers from the Tel Hai Foundation and the JNF, photos, and newspapers. Despite his young age, he lives by the sweat of his brow, through hard and tiring work, and hopes for the day when his dream will come true– to make Aliyah to his homeland.[5]

 

Translator's Footnotes

  1. Most likely referring to the murder of Haim Arlosoroff, who was murdered by Revisionist Zionists on the Tel Aviv beach in June of 1933. This high-profile assassination was a culmination of anger felt by Revisionists toward Labor Zionists, who they accused of collaborating with the Nazis. Return
  2. “The Moment” was a Yiddish-language newspaper published in Warsaw in the early 20th century. It was one of the only Yiddish newspapers at the time to have been sympathetic to the Zionist cause. Return
  3. “Training”; this word refers to preparations to make Aliya (immigration to Israel) and work on a kibbutz Return
  4. The acronym פ.ש.צ. (P.S.C.) may be a specific unit label, or may be the initials for פלוגת שוטרים צבאיים (military police troop). Return
  5. Published in “The State” No. 3 (25), dated the first of Adar, 1934 (2/15/1934) Return

 

« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »


This material is made available by JewishGen, Inc. and the Yizkor Book Project for the purpose of
fulfilling our mission of disseminating information about the Holocaust and destroyed Jewish communities.
This material may not be copied, sold or bartered without JewishGen, Inc.'s permission. Rights may be reserved by the copyright holder.


JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material for verification.
JewishGen is not responsible for inaccuracies or omissions in the original work and cannot rewrite or edit the text to correct inaccuracies and/or omissions.
Our mission is to produce a translation of the original work and we cannot verify the accuracy of statements or alter facts cited.

  Mizoch, Ukraine     Yizkor Book Project     JewishGen Home Page


Yizkor Book Director, Lance Ackerfeld
This web page created by Max G. Heffler

Copyright © 1999-2022 by JewishGen, Inc.
Updated 25 Mar 2022 by MGH