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[Page 410]

Beytar in Volozhin

By Beitar members

Translated by M. Porat

Edited by Judy Feinsilver Montel

A scout Zionist movement was founded in 1928 in Volozhin with the purpose of uniting the Tarbut School graduates in organized sporting and cultural activities. But the young members wanted political ideas. Mr. Hayim Goloventshits the School manager, who sympathized with the Revisionist movement proposed to invite a suitable instructor from Vilna. We invited Mr. Betsalel Likhtenshtein from Brit Troompeldor. Our group became the Volozhin Beytar “Nest” (BeYTar – Brit Yosef Troompeldor).

All the nest activities were conducted in Hebrew. The members were called “Brothers” and “Sisters”. The Beytar symbol was the Menorah. It decorated our caps. We greeted one another by the word “Tel Hay”. We chose our leading Committee: Shabtay Baksht, Batia Guerman, Dov Lavit, Borukh Mordkhe Meyirson, Bela Kramnik and Efrayim Rogovin. The first nest commander was Dov Lavit (Also the first Volozhin Descendants- Head in Israel).

Beytar Nest 1928

Beytar Nest 1928

From left to Right, Rows from above down:

1st row: Hayim Perski, Kopl Kagan, Rochl Perski, Lea Potashnik, Beylke Mordukhovitsh, Feygl Kramnik, Hinde Rudnik, Mina Berman, Etke, Dovid Bunimotsh, Yosef Dubinski, Zalman Perski
2nd row: Itskhok Perski, Shmuel Berman, Hayim Alpert, Peshke Rogovin, Bela Potashnik, Isroel Berkovitsh, Zlatke Lavit,Roda Alpert, Avram Berman, Hayim Kissiel
3rd row: Isak Kaplan, Shlomo Libeman, Eliezer Maze, Bela Kramnik, Hayim Goloventhits, Dov Lavit, Mania Dubinski, Yakov Berkovitsh, Shabtay Baksht
4rth row: Rivka Perski, Roza Berman, Perl Rudnik, Pessah Berman, Perez Rogovin, Miryam Rosenberg, Hiene Rogovin, Tsila Perski, Hayim Shalman

Due to the Committee's hard work the number of members reached eighty after a short time. We held our sessions in the local Tarbut school in the evenings. There we heard lectures about Erets Isroel its history and geography. The Nest spread its knowledge and ideas outside the town into the surrounding shtetls. We helped to found Beytar nests in Vishnievo, Trab, Baksht, Ivianits and Horodok. Volozhin became the center of the vicinity's Beytar nests. Inside the town conferences were held, assemblies and meetings, in which renowned instructors took part like Tsvi Bergman from Baranovitsh, Gershon Ashknazi from Vilna, Daniel Perski the and others.

The nest emphasized military training. The local Polish garrison agreed to post an instructor at the nest and to lend us firearms, gas masks and grenades for training purposes. Among Volozhin inhabitants there were different points of view regarding this activity. A part of them was persuaded that Jewish youth should know military art prepatory to the dangerous duties awaiting them in Palestine. Others saw it as funny saber rattling. But after the 1929 Arab pogroms even the skeptical understood the serious need of military knowledge. Dov Lavit made Aliya on 1930, Efrayim Rogovin and Bela Kramnik in 1933.

A group of Beytar military trainees' commanded by Efrayim Rogovin

A group of Beytar military trainees' commanded by Efrayim Rogovin
Mount Bialik in the background

(continued on next page)

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