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[Page 269]

Chapter VIII

Our Townspeople Who Have
Fallen in the War Of Independence


[Page 269]

Meir Gelman z”l

by A. Feinberg

Translated by Esther Mann Snyder




Meir Gelman was born in Brichany in 1924. His family was very proud of him because he was a good student and completed his school studies with excellence. He wasn't able to continue his education due to the deportation when he was sent with his brother to Nikolayev. They worked there together with thousands of other Jews building a bridge over the Bug River. When his brother was hurt and paralyzed, Meir joined another three young men his age who decided to escape from the camp. After wandering the roads full of dangers and suffering, one of his friends was killed, however Meir and his friends finally reached Romania.

They worked in many forced labor camps in Romania, and when the war was over they labored in the coal mines of Donbas. When the opportunity arose for several hundred orphans of Transnistria to go to Eretz Yisrael, he and his two friends joined them. They reached Eretz Yisrael in December 1944.

Meir received his training in Kfar Yehoshua and quickly felt at home. However when his training group moved to the moshav Bet Eshel he longed for Kfar Yehoshua and returned there.

At the beginning of the War of Independence Meir was among the first ones who went out with others from the Kfar to defend the valley. During a battle with the Kaukzhi gangs he was killed on 20 Nisan – 6/5/1948.

[Page 270]

Yasha (Yaakov Moshe) Gnesin, z”l
A collection

Translated by Esther Mann Snyder




Yasha Genesin was born in Brichany, and as a child moved with his parents to Chile where he grew up.

His parents, Devorah z”l and Yehoshua, were members of Tzeirei Zion while in Brichany, and also in their new home they continued their Zionist activity. Yasha was brought up in a Zionist environment. He considered his future path for a long time and didn't join any youth movement; finally he joined Hashomer Hatzair. After he joined, he ceased his university studies – although he had only one more year left to complete his education and receive a diploma as a chemical engineer – and went out to hachshara in the La Grancha farm near Santiago. While there he was still wavering as to his loyalty to society and devotion to work.

During the most turbulent days in Eretz Yisrael, about one year before statehood, Yasha decided, together with a group of friends, to make aliya to Eretz Yisrael. His parents, as many others, pleaded with him to delay his aliya and wait until things settled down. They said, soon there will be a state and we will all go to Eretz Yisrael. However, his mind was made up that this was the time for every young person to go and help the fighters.

After several attempts Yasha arrived in a maapilim (illegal immigrants) boat and went to Kibbutz Negba. Also here he hesitated about his abilities and selfless devotion and joined the defenders of the kibbutz, after he had gone through a course of military mine sappers. One day after a ceasefire, he went out to check the places that were planted with mines, and stepped on a mine and was seriously injured. He was transferred

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to Gedera, was operated on and after a few hours passed away. Before his death he asked his friends not to inform his parents what happened – he would write to them himself…

His father Yehoshua made aliya after the State was founded. But his mother did not come because after she received the news of the death of her son, she died of a heart attack.

On 28 Tamuz, 1948 he was buried in Kibbutz Negba.

(From Mondo Chodio, Chile; Das Yiddishe Vart, Chile; A pamphlet in Memory of the Defenders of Kibbutz Negba.)

[Page 272]

Chanan Tepperman z”l

by Sarah Reichmann

Translated by Esther Mann Snyder




Chanan son of Yaakov and Malka Tepperman was born in Brichany in 1930.

With the other deported residents of the town he was exiled with his mother and sister to Transnistria, after his father and his oldest brother were shot and killed by the Nazis.

In 1943 he returned to Romania with a group of orphaned boys and from there came on aliya to Eretz Yisrael at the age of twelve and a half. Until the War of Independence he stayed in a children's institution where he studied and worked. When the bloody clashes broke out he volunteered to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces. Unfortunately he was one of the first to die in our War of Independence.

He was survived by a sick mother and a sister in Bessarabia.


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