Son of Abraham and Chana, he was born on the 11th of March 1929 in Brussels, Belgium, to a family that emigrated from Kutno, in Poland. He learned at a French school and also received a Jewish education. In the Second World War, the family was destroyed by the Nazis, and he and his sister became refugees. He learned Hebrew from the volunteer teachers of the Hebrew Brigade serving at this time in Belgium, after the defeat of the enemy, and, with their help, he emigrated to Eretz [Israel] in the year 1945. He studied at the Youth Aliyah [school] in Kfar Ruppin for one year and after that, he went to work. He adapted quickly to the life in Eretz [Israel] and was liked by his friends for his cheerfulness and playfulness. As a member of the Haganah, from the beginning he participated in the defence of Tel Aviv during the War of Independence, and in attacks in and around Jaffa. After that, he was accepted into a unit of Mishmar HaAm [The People's Guard, a peacekeeping force at the time of Independence] in Sharona [a district of Tel Aviv], which was considered to be the first unit of the regular army within the framework of the Haganah. From that, he volunteered to serve in a bomb disposal unit in the Tel Aviv area, and, finishing the course, he went into action. He participated in a big battle on an Arab stronghold in the Sachneh district of Jaffa. After failure of the offensive due to the British helping the Arabs, he destroyed a fortified house and enemy cell nearby and, in spite of enemy fire, volunteered to rescue our wounded men from the site of the battle. He participated in reconnoitring attacks on Lod and Ramle, the clearing of enemy mines from the Zerifin camp and the fortification and mining of the defense line between Kfar Ono [now Kyriat Ono] and Safriya.
During the first truce, some troops of the guarding force accidentally entered one of our mine fields near Kfar Ono and some of them were wounded. Eliahu came to their help and while doing that he stepped on a mine and was blown to pieces on the 17th of June 1948. He was laid to eternal rest in the Nahalat Yitzhak cemetery on the 20th of June 1948.
Son of Zwi Firstenberg, he was born in Kutno in 1923. While still a child, he went to Eretz [Yisrael] with his parents. He attended school and later lived on kibbutz Ein Hahoresh from where he joined the Hagana [pre-State army]. During the Second World War, he enlisted in the Jewish Brigade. He fought in the front at Tobruk, where he excelled as a courageous and fearless fighter. When he returned to Eretz Yisrael, he joined the Fighters for the Liberation of Israel (Lehi) [a radical group, also known as Stern, after its leader Abraham Stern], where he participated in many actions. His wife Chana, who was a nurse, also attended to his comrades who were injured during their underground actions.
After the War of Independence, he worked in the administration of the main bus station in Tel Aviv and after that, he worked as a driver on the Tel Aviv-Eilat line. On the 17th of March 1954, he was driving a bus through Ma'ale-Akrabim [Scorpion's Pass, 100km south of Beersheva] when feddayin murderers attacked it and many passengers were killed, among them Efraim and his wife Chana. Their small son Michael suffered bad injuries.
May their memories be blessed.
by Tamar KOWALSKA, Tel Aviv
Translated from the Yiddish by Marta Krzeminska
Given to print: Kowalski Tamar, Tel-Aviv
Listen up, for I am about to tell you about the miracles, great wonders,
How special is the life all of us Jews,
So very special that they separate us from the whole wide world -
I will present to you the Ghetto Konzstanz.
Not one had his residence there,
Our lads had themselves established palatial* tents
In the squares and in the middle of the field,
They have established a proletariat shtetl.
The life in Konstanz - a genuine delight -
Every day - a wedding and a funeral.
Entire day in a queue for a scrap of bread,
The life reminds here the life of dead.
But! Fellow lads, stay cheerful, it's not a time to worry.
Lift your head higher, for the morning has come.
Then we shall break the ghetto fences, destroy the ghetto-world.
We'll take our fate into our own hands.
(to be sung with the melody of They came and took us) - the title is a transliteration from Polish
Behind the wires I will lead you,
Line up everyone! From big to small!
Whatever is bought here you're not allowed to try.
Because the competition with us is vile.
You cannot run into the shop,
It's the group-leader who has to buy for us the smuggle:
Cigarettes, soap, candles and sardines -
So that we can sell them and thereby earn well.
Tra-la-la tra-la-la tra-la-la!
*The word used here is « palaten » - a sarcastic translation of the Russian « palace »
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