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[Page 245]


[Photo:] Peretz and Zahava Goldman and children

        Since childhood the young Peretz Goldman had a strong interest in the Land of Israel. When he was 12 years old he assembled a group of Drohitchin children to tell them about the wonders of the Land. I was one of those children, and I remember how we went to the well-known teacher, Betsalel Wolfson (of Drohitchin) who Peretz asked to tell us more about Palestine, and what we young people should do to help build the country.

        We then heard our first lecture from Wolfson about Zionism and the ideas of Jabotinsky. Wolfson believed very strongly in the great Jewish leader, Vladimir Jabotinsky, whose teachings taught about a Jewish Palestine on both sides of the Jordan River.

        Shortly thereafter, in 1927, Peretz organized the Betar (acronym for Brit Yosef Trumpeldor) organization in Drohitchin, and was the cultural leader for 8 years until he left for Palestine. Peretz was totally devoted to the work of Betar and Zionism. Day and night he organized Drohitchin boys and girls with whom he worked and whom he taught, inculcating them in the spirit of the Jewish State. Peretz prepared Drohitchin youth for Palestine, and attended training camp himself to prepare for emigration to Palestine.

        He arrived in Palestine 1935, and his dream was partially realized. When I met Peretz in Haifa after his arrival in Palestine, he beamed with joy for being able to arrive in the Jewish homeland. “This only the beginning of our work to establish a Jewish State,” he said. Peretz threw himself into his work, and was a model of the idea of the “conquest of Hebrew labor.”

        Peretz began as a mailman in the Haifa post office, where only some of the workers were Jews. He worked to bring in as many Jews as possible to work there. Later he went to work in a village settlement, though Peretz was not up to performing physical labor in the settlements.

        Some time later, Peretz worked as a worker in the Haifa port, where he was sent as a Hebrew laborer; still later became a fisherman. He and a dozen other boys were the pioneers who started to develop the fishing industry in Palestine. He was so happy to show me a fishing vessel anchored in the port of Haifa.

        Peretz also worked in the rail line factory in Haifa until he became a mechanic in the Haifa refinery. He and a dozen other Jews worked there among hundreds of Arabs, while studying at night to obtain a degree from London as a locomotive engineer.

        In his letter of November 1947, Peretz wrote about his friend who was in the process of settling in the Jewish homeland and building a home and community on Haifa Bay for his family.


Embassy of Israel

Ref. 15/5/EB
March 29, 1950

To: Mr. H. Livak

RE: Date your friend was killed

Pursuant to our letter No. 5/5/EB of 2/17/50, your friend Peretz son of Yoel (Goldman) Ben-Zahav was born in 1914 and was killed in an Arab attack at the Haifa refinery on 12/30/47. He was buried in Haifa on 12/31/47. His wife's name is Zahava, and her address is: 12 Hashalom St., Haifa.

I share your grief.

[illegible signature]
E. Avidor
Lt. Col.
Army, Navy and Air Force

A letter from the Israeli embassy to Levak regarding the death of Peretz.

        Peretz was one of the unknown soldiers who fought in the ranks of the Irgun

[Page 246]

under Menachem Begin to attain a Jewish State. Unfortunately, Peretz didn't live to see the establishment of the Jewish state. He wrote me that the Arab workers at the refinery were bragging that they would soon slaughter all the Jews, but would spare Peretz because he was a “good Jew.”

        The Arabs kept their word. On December 30, 1947, as soon as they got the order, the Arabs attacked the two-dozen Jewish workers with knives and slaughtered all of them, including Peretz, who died from an Arab knife, perhaps belonging to the same person who said he would spare Peretz.

May 3, 1950, Los Angeles, California – Zvi Levack

[photo:] Standing from right: Peretz Goldman, Menachem Steinberg, Shalom Warshavsky, Meir Motya Hausman, Yosek Siderov, Mordechai Gottlieb and Yisrael Schmid. Seated, from right: Moshe Goldberg, Yosef Rubinstein, Zvi Levack – Instructor, Avraham Mishovsky, Kachler and Avraham Lev. Bottom, from right: Berl Vichnes, Berl Gottlieb. The Betar Group, 1933. Ten of them perished.

Yaakov Zvi Warshavsky
[photo:] R. Yaakov Zvi

        Yaakov Zvi Warshavsky, a son of R. Mordechai and Tsippa, was born in approximately 1864. On his father's side he was descended from Rabbi David Yaffe. R. Yaakov Hersh was totally committed to Judaism and tradition, and was involved in community affairs. He was a follower of the old rabbi, R. Menachem, and later Rabbi Kalenkovich. R. Yaakov Hirsh was impulsive and a bold activist. He would have eventually become a mayor. However, he passed away in the flower of his youth at the age of 39 following a brief illness, leaving behind his wife Malka and 7 children.

See pp. 117 and 215. The yahrzeits of Yaakov Zvi's parents: R. Mordechai, 10 Adar, and Tsippa, 4 Iyar.

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