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The Zionist Movement Chapter



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The Zionist Movement

by Dr. Eliezer Shaklai

Translated by Moshe Kutten

Edited by Jane S. Gabin

We know about the Zionist Movement in our town only from 1893, when the Zionist association of “Bnei Tzion” [Literally –the Children of Zion] was founded. About one hundred members joined the organization upon its establishment. They were part of the intelligentsia in town, and most others were homeowners. Rabbi Leibush Landau and Dr. Gershon Zipper participated and gave speeches at the founding conference.

Shaul Meiblum was elected as the organization president, and Lebel as the secretary. In 1894, the number of members rose to one hundred and thirty. Shaul Meiblum, Leib Roza, and Kesil Zauer participated as Brzezany's representatives in the second conference of the “Bnei Tzion” movement, held in Stanisławow [today Ivano-Feankivsk] on June 26-27.

In 1897, our people participated in the elections for the First Zionist Congress. It was a momentous day for the city's Jews. When every one of the members approached the ballot booth, holding a [Zionist] Shekel, they felt that this was a political act of the highest importance and that by their vote, they were signing on establishing the state of Israel. Member Meiblum participated in the Congress.

Two years later, on 20 July 1899, a Zionist conference gathered in Lviv. Our member, Meiblum, participated in that conference as the Zionist representative from Brzezany. He gave a lecture, at that conference, about “The Organization in Galitsia”. In 1899 there were 75 Zionist associations in Galitsia. One of them was in our town.

The organization had a reading and meeting room at the home of Yoskeh Pomerantz. An educated young man, diligent but sickly, named Egedran[Agderan?], the son of R' Moshe Egedran[Agderan?], the Talmud melamed. The members met there for reading, debate, and sometimes to listen to a lecture.

The Zionist Movement grew year to year. People from every walk of life, young and old, homeowners, officials, and Hebrew teachers, joined the movement. The latter helped in the dissemination of the Hebrew word and Zionism tremendously. The association invited lecturers who gave their lectures in a Beit Midrash. Not every Beit Midrash agreed to host such lecturers. The gabbais feared that the praying people, who objected to any political activity, would complain against them.

Among the first people who came to lecture in our city was Libel Toibish from Kolomyya, an educated man and a speaker par excellence. He gave a lecture in the “Built” Beit HaMidrash, despite the objection of some of the praying people. Others came after him, and the crowd became accustomed to those lectures. In the winter of 1907, a Zionist preacher named Abramson arrived from Russia. He was a folk preacher, enthusiastic speaker, and a man of fine oratory. He resided in our city for about three weeks and gave speeches at gatherings. He had a big influence on the people of our town.

As aforementioned, the first president of the association was [Shaul] Meiblum. Yosef Ravitz was elected next, and Dr. Aharon Nagler after him.

The movement strengthened during the years between the two World Wars. It expanded its activity among the old-timers, but also among the youth, who introduced new life and energy to the ranks of the old-timers.

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The Zionists became an imperative and decisive factor in the Jewish lives in our city. There were several ideological movements: General Zionists, which most old-timers belonged to, the Union, Mizrakhi, and Kherut. Some youth movements encompassed most of the young people in the city.

To advance and coordinate the activities, they elected a “Local Zionist Committee,” which encompassed representatives from all movements. Member Karf, an old-timer, headed the committee. The following were the members: Dr. Goldshlag, Taler, Tonis, Reiner, and others. All of the institutions connected to the Jewish lives in the diaspora and Israel were part of the Zionist activities. These institutions included the K.K.L.-JNF, Keren HaYesod-UIA, assistance to Hakhshara and Aliyah (for local poor people), Hebrew school, kindergartens, local elections and elections to the Zionist Congress, Community House, orphanage, and more.


KKL activists in 1920

Standing from left to right in the first row: Lawyer Yosef Laber, Itzkhak Vinter, Moshe Segal, Tauba Rot-Tonis, Ya'akov Bumze, Rozia Shapira, Avraham Katz, Itzkhak Nadler
In the second row: Veizer, Eliyahu-David Rot, Rakhel Hibler, Ya'akov Shapira, Yona Kravitz, Leib Frid, Rozia Shapira [appeared twice, possibly an error], Tontzio Rutenberg, Bronia bik-Nadler, Rozia Likhtman, Moshe Reiss
In the third row: Moshe David (Bar David), Meir Taler, Regina Ast-Shomer, Dr. Shlomo Glazer, Mr. Kolker (from the KKL-JNF center in Lviv), Rotbaum, Tontzia Kohen
In the lower row: Zelig Segal, Feiga Velgar, Yosef Velgar, Mendel Tonis

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“Keren Kayemet Le'Israel” [Jewish National Fund]

The [blue] donation boxes of KKL on the wall by the picture of Herzl became the symbol for many Zionists in the year before the First World War. A few activists dedicated most of their time to this sacred work. We should mention the chairman for many years, Dr. Shlomo Glazer, secretary Tahler, Eliyahu-David Rot, and Menakhem Tonis. In Iyar 1927, the four people above were written into the Golden Book of the KKL by the jubilee committee. We celebrated the Jubilee of the organization that year. They received assistance from Zionists from all movements, but most were youths who performed the daily mundane work and collected donations for the KKL on every occasion.


The Golden Book registration certificate given to the members Dr. Shlomo Glazer, Meir Taler, Eliyahu-David Rot, and Menakhem Tonis as an appreciation for the activity on behalf of the KKL.

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An appreciation letter given to Mr. Yehoshua Brik
For his activity in organizing the memorial for Dr. T. Herzl


KKL activists in 1928

Standing from left to right: Atlas, Mordekhai Kornbaum, Biterman, Mina Baner, Suzi Tonis, Sheintzia Brik, Yoel Viethof, Mina Lakher, Shimon Bleikhberg, Tzeska Klarer
In the second row: Feibush Biterman, Erikh, Yehuda Peled, Samet, Reizer, Shlomo Libster, Sh. Shapira, Itzkhak Nadelr, Frid, Panka Khayut, Miriam Nadler, Kohen
Sittng: Rozia Likhtman, Dr. Yosef Frid, Meir Taler, Natan Lebel, Dr. Klarer, Leib Frid, Mendel Tonis, Avraham Katz, Shaul Noishiler

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“Keren Hayesod” [United Israel Appeal]

In our city, the organization was founded in 1932. Dr. Nagler was elected as the chairman, Moshe Tauber was the treasurer, and Moshe Bar-David was the administrator. A representative of Keren Hayesod solicited donations from the city Jews (hard and fatiguing work). He paid visits with our representatives to the wealthy Jews, and the local personnel completed the field work after he had already left the city. We acquired a distinguished name among Galitsia's donors due to our vigorous activity.


“Ezra” committee from 1931

Standing from left to right: Shaul Noishiler, Lakher, St. Riger, Ezra Reikhbakh
Sitting: Khaim Reiner, Nusika Hollander, Dr. Khaim Vilner –chairman, Dr. Lileh L. Reitman

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“Ezra” [Help]

The organization provided help for the poor preparing for Hakhshara [agricultural training] and Aliyah to Israel. Some youths could not afford to finance their Aliyah. “Ezra” people took care of them, headed by Dr. Vilner. We should note, with satisfaction, that none of the youths remained in the diaspora due to a lack of financial means for their Aliyah.


The activists of “Ezra” –1929

Standing from left to right: Moshe Bar-David (David), Ezra Reikhbakh, Mendel Tonis, Hersh Gliner, Lebel
[Sitting:] Ya'akov Shapira, Kuba Krokhtal, Yosef Vinter, Ze'ev Bomze, Itzkhak Kvertel

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“Tzeirei Zion” [Zion Youths]

This was a union of high school students from the lower to the upper classes organized in groups with students from other cities. They founded the “Union of High School Students” in Galitsia. In the entire province of Galitsia, there were about fourteen hundred high school students, thirty-two in our city among them.

The members divided themselves into various clubs: A club to study Hebrew, a club to study the geography of Eretz Israel, and a club to study Zionism. A Hebrew culture committee for spreading the Hebrew language and its literature was attached to the union. That committee nominated Dr. Mentza z”l, then a student at Brzezany high school, as the head of the committee. State conferences of “Tzeirei Tzion”, which our representatives participated in, were held every six months. Dr. Zilbershtein was the head of the organization in Galitsia.


Union of Zionist University Graduates

These young men gathered for lectures, debates, and galas; however, their main effort was to assist other associations in giving lectures (on the history of Zionism and the geography of Eretz Israel). The activists were: Shomer, the Glazer brothers, Vilner, Halbertal, and others. Our representatives participated in the conference held in Lviv on 25-26 July [the year is not mentioned].


“HaShomer” [The Watchman]

A new generation rose in 1917 during the First World War, a period of curtailment, suffering, and poverty. That generation, all under 18, was full of vigor. It aspired to build a Jewish future in its homeland. The organizer was a young man who came back to the city from Vienna. He was an intelligent young man with organizational skills, a student of Meir Ya'ari.

His name was Moshe Frid, and he was a member of the “HaShomer” movement.Along with a few high school students, he founded the branch of the “HaShomer' Movement in our town. The movement was affiliated with the international scout movement with a Jewish character. The movement's slogan was “Pay Attention.” The members were obligated to follow the ten commandments of the scouts, to establish a Jewish state in Eretz Israel. The image of the Jewish scout was a person of nature, a free person in a healthy body, with a Jewish heart, in his revived homeland.

Besides Moshe Frid, the founders were: Moshe Bergman, Zigmond Prash, Leib Glazer, Ya'akov Tzimerman, and others. There were several groups of young members and others of older members. Among those who were with me in the movement, I remember: Landesberg, Ravitz, Kaner, Alter, Bar-David, Segal, Haber, Noiman, Zinger, and others. Among the girls I remember were: Ester Pomerantz, Perla Glazer, Flam, Milkh sisters, Bliberg, and more. We spent the Shabbat in the forest and during the winter, in the branch.

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Every group went out separately, meeting in the forest. There, we organized all sorts of games. During the evenings throughout the entire week, we met in the branch for a discussion, studied Hebrew, learned about the history of the settlement in Eretz Israel, and read books with Zionist content (the most demanded book was “Yizkor”). That youth movement grew and continued to educate to love Israel. That education took deep roots and bore fruit. In the following years, the movement branched off into youth movements of all political currents. The youth in these movements grew and was active continuously until the break of the Second World War. We, here in Israel, are all former members of those movements.


Union of Miriam's Girls' students

The girls were also organized in our city. An association called “Miriam” was founded in 1906 by Engineer Tishler from Buchach, then a high school student in our town. In the beginning, there were 25 girls. Among them were: the Milkh sisters, Gusta Rozenberg, Sabina Tirkisher, and Fridrika Morgen. In the second year, the number of members rose to forty. In the beginning, they met at the Milkh family home. Later on, they rented a room for the club's gathering. They studied Jewish history, Hebrew literature, and the history of Zionism. The lecturers were: Shefer, who lectured about Jewish history. Ze'ev Glazer taught modern Jewish literature and Engineer Tishler lectured about the history of Zionism. The club activity was substantial, and the number of members continued to grow by the day. All the members were obligated to study Hebrew at the Hebrew school.


The Union of “HaShakar” (The Dawn)

A young teacher, Naphtali Zigel, came to our city in 5668 (1908). He came from the circle of the Beit HaMidrash youth. The association was organized under his leadership. He was elected as the secretary and conducted fruitful work.

A branch of the organization, “Settlement of Eretz Israel,” headquartered in Vienna, also existed in our city.


“Poaley Tzion” [Worker of Zion”] Movement

The working youth was organized within the “Poaley Tzion” movement. In our city, [a branch of] that association was founded in 1904. The movement was headed then by Yosef Halbertal. The following were the activists in Brzezany: Mirberg, Zauberberg, Vitz, Meir, and others. Their activity was fairly modest. The members of that association were mostly sales associates and apprentices of craftsmen. The high school students and the academians assisted them with lectures and lessons about the history of Zionism and Israel's geography. Among the dedicated lecturers was Shlomo Glazer. The movement maintained a Hebrew and Yiddish library.

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“HeKhalutz” [the Pioneer]

Many who reached Eretz Israel during the period between the two wars were members of that movement. [A branch] was established in our city at the end of WWI, and its activity continued through the years until the outbreak of the Second World War. The people of the Third Aliyah enlisted from its ranks and together with other youth movements, prepared the youth for Aliyah and work and life in Israel. Its members organized the first group to make Aliyah –the group called “HaKoakh” [Power]. That group achieved their goal of making Aliyah through a way going filled with obstacles. They were closely related to the “HaShomer” movement and later on, the “HaShomer HaTzair” [The Young Watchman], who helped them with lectures and preparation for Aliyah. Among the first pioneers were: Bomze, Katz-Grad, Veintraub, Libling, Eigen, Korev, Moshe Glazer, Kalman, Ilan, Kravitz, Bergman, Feigenbaum, and others.


The HeKhalutz Branch in 1929

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First Group Makes Aliyah

by Moshe Glazer and Menakhem Katz-Grad

Translated by Moshe Kutten

Edited by Jane S. Gabin

In 1919, when the Ukrainian army fought with the Poles to establish a Ukrainian republic, the Jewish self-defense force in our town, founded upon the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, began to defend against the Ukrainians who wished to abolish it. Many youths in the city prepared to join the Ukrainian warriors. However, others thought: “Why should we fight in the war of the Ukrainians?” Rumors began to arrive that the “HeKhalutz” [The Pioneer] movement was being organized to prepare and train the Jewish youth for making Aliyah to Eretz Israel. The thought of organizing our youth within “HeKhalutz” came up.

It was a sudden thought but not followed by quick action. Only when the Poles conquered Eastern Galitsia did we - the youth -get in touch with the Zionist center in Lviv. “HaShomer” Union in our city received accurate information about the “HeKhalutz” from the “HaShomer” center in Lviv, and from there, the news reached us. We began to slowly study the issues that the “HeKhalutz” organization faced, and the thought about making Aliyah began to take shape.

At the end of 1919, we began to act toward establishing a group to make Aliyah. The following youths joined the group: Shlomo Eigen, Yekhiel Brik, Ze'ev Bomze, Menakhem Katz-Grad, (Mekuzhni), Moshe Glazer, Veintraub, Sely Karb, and Yosef Kalman.

The members contacted A. Feigenbaum, the lessee of a farm in Martzelovka, to allow us to work there (Katz-Grand did not participate in that work session). We all went to work, and at that time, we only worked half days. In the winter of 1920, we stopped working there and gathered to discuss Eretz Israel and the work there. At the end of the winter, we began to work again on the in Martzelovka.

In 1920, we began to solicit information from the “HeKhalutz” center in Lviv to find out how to make Aliyah, get visas, and finance the expenses involved. The answers were straightforward: we needed to initiate, plan, and cover the trip expenses ourselves. We also had to plan what roads we needed to take. We turned to organize the plan in June, 1920. We probably had a lot of energy, so without turning to the center, we decided to travel to Lviv, meet there with the HeKhalutz center (for Eastern Galitsia), and from there continue to Eretz Israel.

We received small sums from our parents but these were insufficient to cover even our travel expenses in Galitsia. We hired a cart (with two horses), and loaded our luggage and ourselves on the wagon. Our parents stood around us, and so did our friends, who accompanied and were jealous of us. Many tears were shed by the mothers. Blessings were said by everybody. We pretended to be heroes, told the waggoneer to go, and we went on our way.

A few additional members joined us in Przemyśl [Pshemishel] on the way to Lviv. The center in Lviv probably provided them with the details and the time of our departure and they decided to join. The people who joined us were: Avraham Katz, his sisters Shoshana and Tzipora, and Bela Fuks. We arrived safely in Lviv, without any delay or hindrances, even though it was a troublous period that presented many dangers for traveling Jews.

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In Lviv, we contacted the movement's center and were told to go to Krakow at our own expense. We stayed two days in Lviv. The people from Brzezany and Przemyśl, who lived in Lviv, welcomed us and provided us with food and lodging. We left Lviv and continued on the train to Krakow. Here, we were welcomed more warmly by the “HeKhalutz” people. They arranged lodging for us in the attic of a big building, probably a grain storage building, on the bank of the Vistula [Wisla] River. The “Joint” [JDC] provided food at a soup kitchen they established in the city, where we received a hot meal and bread for the rest of the day.

A few days later, we received an instruction from Krakow's “Hekhalutz” to travel to Bratislava. Upon arriving we found out from the local Zionist Union that it was not easy to obtain visas to Eretz Israel there. But the Union arranged lodging for us in the building of the Jewish school, and we received food from the Joint. We went to the Joint's kitchen daily for lunch; we were also provided produce for the evening and morning meals, which we had to prepare ourselves.

While waiting for the visas, we asked the Zionist leadership in Bratislava to arrange work for us in the neighboring villages to avoid sitting idle. Soon we got a job in a neighboring German village. Our members worked for several farmers in that village. In the beginning, they treated us suspiciously and were worried that we would not be able to do their work. However, our desire to prove them wrong and demonstrate that Jews know how to work worked in our favor. We worked hard, and our employers were satisfied. Many farmers came to see us working. More than once we heard from them that there were no such diligent workers among Slovakia's Jews. The food provided to us was tasteful, but the work was arduous. We were too tired to go out. The “Shiksas” [gentile girls] wanted us to spend time with them (dance and go on trips), but we were too tired.

Two weeks later, when we found out that we would not be able to receive the visas for Eretz Israel in Bratislava, we were advised to travel to neighboring Vienna for that. After consulting with the Zionist Union, we decided to cross the border, which was very close by, illegally. We crossed on one of the Saturdays, and from there, we traveled a few kilometers by train to Vienna.

In Vienna, we met with Moshe Frid, a native of Brzezany (who studied at a university in Vienna at that time). We kept in touch with him through the mail while still in Bratislava. With his help, it was not difficult to find lodging in Vienna, and we resided in the ground apartment of the Caffe Hauptaleh, which was available for us in the fall. We also received food from the Joint. The walk to the Joint's kitchen was rather long, but we went every day for lunch and ate the other meals together at the apartment made from the food we received from the Joint. Two pioneers from Stanisławów [today Ivano-Frankivsk], Dr. Porer and Gerstman, joined us in Vienna. We were idle for about six weeks as the British consulate was not in a hurry to provide Eretz Israel's visas. We tried to find ways to accelerate our Aliyah (Moshe Frid handled our case at the Eretz Israel's offices in Vienna, where he had some acquaintances. He was also in touch with the Zionist leadership in the city).

About 600 pioneers assembled in Vienna at that time (October 1920). As a result, it was not easy to secure a visa. We also needed money for the travel tickets from Vienna to Trieste, tickets for the ship, and visa fees. And we received money from the Joint and Brzezany natives who lived in Vienna. The most outstanding among them, who helped and encouraged us, were Moshe Izik, Moshe Ilan, and Moshe Frid.

Around mid-October, we received the visas and decided not to delay and depart immediately.

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We boarded the train leaving Vienna for Trieste. The road from Vienna was comfortable, and we arrived at the port city of Trieste two days later. We received comfortable train cars, and the staff treated us warmly.

We arrived on a gloomy and stormy day. The people from the Eretz Israeli office accepted us and led us to a building slated for “pioneers making Aliyah.”

We bought tickets for a cargo ship. It paid for the trip only but not for the food. On the ship, we met many other pioneers from towns in Russia, Lithuania [Lita], Poland, and Galitsia, altogether about 300 people. We crowded over the deck “cover.” The ship was dirty, and its captain was drunk, but the Italian sailors were friendly. We had to buy new food provisions in Trieste, but when we opened some of the biscuit boxes, we found worms. From Trieste, we sailed to Venice and docked there for three days, after which , the ship sailed to Split. That destination was unveiled to us at the port when they woke us up at midnight. We had to vacate the cover due to the loading of cement sacks into the ship's hold. In the morning, when the loading ended, they put to cover back and allowed us back into our sleeping quarters. In Split, we stocked up on food we bought at the shops in the city. From there, the ship sailed to the port city of Brindisi, where we paused again for loading as we had that night in Split.

From Brindisi, the ship sailed to the Balkan Peninsula, where goods were unloaded and loaded. That meant that they had to bother us time after time. The next big port was on the island of Corfu, where we docked for several days. The ship did not dock by a pier, so some of us went to the city on a boat to purchase food. From Corfu, we sailed to the island of Crete. They loaded baskets filled with grapes there. All the corridors to the sailors' cells were clogged with those baskets. It goes without saying that we tasted these grapes and, once in a while, threw the empty baskets into the sea. From Crete, the ship turned to Alexandria. On the way, the ship suddenly stopped. The sailors seemed confused, and it looked to them, and us, that smoke was coming up from the hold. The drunk captain ordered us to evacuate the cover and crowd into the corridors. The cold and the wind took their toll. We suffered terribly and asked for permission to come up to the deck. The captain did not allow us to do so. He ordered a wooden barricade erected on the stairs. He did not leave us a choice but to break it and climb up onto the deck. When the captain demanded the sailors oust us from the deck, they refused and laughed at him. Eighteen days later, we docked in Alexandria for two days. We disembarked and walked around the city. There were probably thieves on our ship because when we went to the market, we saw a peddler there who offered caps for sale. Yekhiel Brik noticed that the caps belonged to one of the passengers.

We sailed to Port Said two days later, but stopped for only a few hours. We then sailed to Jaffa, where boats owned by Arabs, rented by the “Zionist Commission” (on behalf of the Jewish Agency), waited for us at sea. They waited about 3 kilometers from the shore since the shore was rocky and the sea was turbulent and rough. Policemen and officials were waiting for us at a place serving for the boats docking. After they checked our passports, they gathered us in a hut where they vaccinated us. We spent a few days quarantining in that hut. From there, we moved to the immigrant camp of the Zionist Commission, located on a sand hill in Tel Aviv (today the intersection of Allenbyand Balfour Streets), where we resided in tents. The food was provided to us by the Zionist Commission through the kitchens of the party of “HaPoel Hatzair” [Young Worker] under the management of Khana Meizel, who was stationed in Nakhlat Benyamin Street. That street looked like a street in a [small] provincial town. The houses had one floor, surrounded by ornamental gardens without any shops.


Ze'ev Bomze and Seli Karb, Pioneers of HaShomer on their way to Eretz Israel. Vienna, 1920

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A few days later, Mendel Elkind and Yehuda Kopeliovitz (later Almog), visited us at the immigrant camp. Kopeliovitz was head of the “Third Aliya.” and founded the “Gdud HaAvoda” and the “HeKhalutz” movement (together with Yosef Trumpeldor).. They spent a few hours with us explaining the essence and goal of the “Gdud HaAvoda” [Work Brigade], named after Yosef Trumpeldor. They told us about the job slated for us: constructing and paving sections of the road between Tiberias' hot springs and Tiberias, and between Tiberias and Tabgha. These sections were part of the road from Tzemakh Junction [where the Arab village of Samakh was situated there until 1948], through Tiberias, to Tabgha, and from there to Rosh Pinah. That road was constructed by Egyptian Arabs. After a whole day's discussion, we agreed to join the Gdud [battalion or brigade]. We sent a telegram, and the Gdud people came to take us, on the same day, to their camp located near Khamei Tveria, the hot springs in Tiberius. We traveled by train between Lydda and Haifa; from there, on a narrow gauge railway to Tzemakh. From Tzemakh, we sailed on the ship “Nordau” to Tiberias and from there by boat to the camp near the hot springs. We disembarked at the Kineret [Sea of Galilee] beach and arrived wearing festive khaki shirts.

We were given tents, four members to a tent, and the first meal was tasty. We began planning our lives and work at the Brigade. We should emphasize that our group members were very close to each other. Our commune lives continued until the people were sent to play various other roles and naturally separated.

It seemed that our work at the Tiberias' hot springs (the excavation of soil and transporting it for fill) satisfied “Akhdut HaAvoda” [Labor Union - Non-Marxist Zionist party]. Its people praised us and stated that they wished that “all the brigade members would work like you.” A few weeks later, the Gdud was allocated another road section –from the Arab village Majdal to Tabgha. We worked during the rainy season opposite the Gdud's camp, erected on the beach of the Sea of Galilee (between Majdal and the citrus orchard of Sir Alfred Mond and Professor Warburg). In that section, the role of our group “Ko'akh” [Power] was to dig ditches on the side of the road that was being paved.


Members of the first group that made Aliyah, 1920

Standing from left to right: Yosef Kalman, S. Karb, Dov Katz
Sitting: Libling, M. Katz-Grad, Ze'ev Bomze

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The first group that made Aliya. Vienna, in 1924


We were exhausted at the end of each working day as we did not allow our members to rest during the workday. We used to urge each other: “Why aren't you working? We have not fulfilled the quota yet." There were cases when the members had to stop working due to blisters on their hands.

A few weeks later, we moved to work at a black stone quarry located on one of the hills northeast of the [Arab] village of Abu-Shusheh [depopulated in 1948] located close to the road about to be constructed. We blasted the big rocks with explosives. Not all of the members moved to the quarry. Some remained to dig ditches along the road and built the road shoulders. Our work satisfied the quarry experts and we supplied more rocks than any other group.

Yosef Khaim Brenner z”l visited the Gdud on Hannukah, [and he initiated] Hebrew lessons. Despite our fatigue from the hard work, most of the members participated in these lessons. Close to the holiday of Purim, a decision was made to establish a new platoon to construct the railroad from Rosh HaAyin to Petakh Tikva. Rosh HaAyin was a station on the railroad between Lydda and Haifa. One of our members was among the founders of that new platoon.

During the following Passover, some group members were sent to the “Jeeps Platoon” (a Jewish work battalion of the British army). Among those were some members from our groups. It seemed that sending some members to Rosh HaAyin and the Jeeps Platoon, on one side, and the absorption of other immigrants causing some members to join other groups, on the other side, weakened the connection among the members of the “Ko'akh Group.” the natives of Brzezany, until its dissolution.


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