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[Page 325]

HeChalutz HaTzair” in Augustow

by Moshe Amit (Drozinski)




“…And the younger envied his brother. From there, from the hall of “HeChalutz,” he surely heard song erupting, and his brother left the house of his father, and he created for himself a new life, a life of work, comradeship and freedom, and he went up to the land, to the land of Israel. And he envied him, and it came to his mind if he could not also do as he did. And he and his friends gathered and decided: let's we too be pioneers, young pioneers. And there arose – “HeChalutz HaTzair.”


HeAtid,” 11 Adar 5688 [1928], N. Chayut

When the young people saw that the adults were entering the club, singing and dancing, carrying out cultural and social activities, they too decided to do as they did, and established “HeChalutz HaTzair” in the city. We began with a very few, and we became, within a very short time, a great nation.[1]HeChalutz” accepted as members those age 18 and up, while “HeChalutz HaTzair” accepted ages 14-18, who completed elementary school or “talmud torah.” Members of “HeChalutz HaTzair” were essentially the children of laborers, shopkeepers and small merchants, whose parents did not have the means to send them outside of the place to learn in high schools.

First thing we rented a club. To cover the expenses the members paid a monthly tax, and when that did not suffice, they drafted the members for days of work in cutting wood for heating in the yards of the Jews of the city, or in helping with the baking of matzot and the like. The wages for the work went into the fund of the branch.

Each evening the club, in Arbstein's house next to the Great Synagogue, was full of people, young men and women, who came to learn and also to spend time.

The branch was divided into groups according to age. The cultural-explanatory activity included the study of the Hebrew language, the history of Israel, literature, the workers' movement in the world and in the land. The activity was based on friendly conversations, evenings of questions and answers, literary trials, singing and dancing the horah,[2] outings in the forests and sailing in boats accompanied by stories and legends about the land of Israel. On special opportunities celebrations were held, and receptions around long tables.

The public appearances, for example, the trials on literary topics, achieved great participation of the community outside of “HeChalutz HaTzair.”

At the head of the branch stood a council of five members that was elected at a general assembly, and two adult members were sent by the council of “HeChalutz” to help the youths.

On the council were active, among the rest: D. Aloni, Y. Aleksandroni, E. Chalupitzki, H. Lenzinger,

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S. Plotzinski, M. Freitzeit, S. Koritzki, Y. Shadmi. The representatives of “HeChalutz” – M. Ostrov, Leibke Shreibman, Yechezkel Sherman. Fania Bergstein and Shlomo Plotzinski (they died in the land) guided and directed the cultural-educational activity. They were family members, guides in lovingkindness, good friends, and beloved to their protégés. Breintza Ivriyah and Eliav Chalupitzki, whose power was great in social games, singing, and dancing, did not get to go up to the land, and were tragically killed in the period of the Holocaust. D. Aloni and Y. Aleksandroni live with us here in the land.


The “HeChalutz HaTzair” Group in Augustow After the Work in the Garden

First row from right to left: S. Koritzki… M. Freitzeit, Y. Livni, R. Rozenfeld, D. Sherman
Second row: Y. Blacharski, A. Morzinski, M. Goldshmid, A. Barglovski, A. Sheinmar… D. Roznov
Third row: A. Leizerovitz, … … Y. Freimark, Y. Leizerovitz, A. Preisman, Y. Goldstein, R. Tsherman, N. Portnoy
Caption in the Photo: In the Vegetable Garden


With the passage of time, the friendship tightened and formed a kind of family; the club was their warm home. Members of HaShomer HaTzair were, of course, partners in carrying the yoke of the practical Zionist activity (emptying the boxes of the Keren Kayemet L'Yisrael, participation in movie day, etc.) The goal of the cultural activity was to train the members for aliyah. For this purpose age-appropriate physical training for these ages was also required, so that they would become fond of work in general. For this need we rented a plot of land and we prepared it as a vegetable garden. The fact that respected householders went out to chop wood or tend vegetables

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caused a revolution in the ideas of the town. Until then only gentiles, who were considered inferior, worked in these kinds of work. Because of the “Chalutzim” the value of the work went up among the Jews.

At about the age of 18 we passed to the “HeChalutz” organization, and in a short time we reached our turn to go out for “training.” The parents, of course, objected, but after difficult discussion we won, and we went out to Kibbutz Ivtzvitz next to Baronovitz. The living conditions in the training kibbutz were very hard. The place was cramped. In the one small bedroom about twenty youths lay side by side on primitive beds. When they awoke from their sleep, those who had returned from the night shift lay down in their places. We worked in the sawmill. The Augustov group (Y. Bialovzetski, Barukh Chositzer, may his memory be for a blessing, A. Morzinski, M. Amit) excelled at the work, and after a few months was authorized to go up to the land. After a short stay at home, we left the city, one day after Tisha B'Av, 1929.[3] Many came to part from us with songs of joy, while our parents parted from us in tears.

On the next day, while we were still in the capital, Warsaw, it became known to our parents from the newspapers that riots had broken out in the land. They immediately sent two emissaries to bring us home. However, we were not deterred. After a long argument, the emissaries of our parents withdrew their demand and blessed us with a safe trip.

On September 6, we reached the land.


Eliav Chalupitzki

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In the Vegetable Garden

Caption in the Photo: The “HeChalutz HaTzair” Group in Augustow and the Shade of the Work in the Garden


In the Vegetable Garden

From right to left: M. Amit, Y. Leizerovitz, R. Kaplanski, Y. Aleksandroni, R. Tsherman, Y. Shadmi,
Channah Goldstein, Y. Piastzki, A Leizerovitz (on the horse), S. Plotzinski, B. Bidek, Y. Blacharski

Laying down: A. Drozinski, R. Rozenfeld, … Y. Blacharski
Caption in the photo: The “HeChalutz HaTzair” Group in Augustow After the Work in the Garden.

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The Council of HeChalutz HaTzair (1925)

Standing: M. Ostrov, Hadassah Lenzinger, Eliav Chalupitzki
Sitting: Yaakov Aleksandroni, Yechezkel Sherman, M. Freitzeit, Shlomo Plotzinski


The Council of HeChalutz HaTzair (1926)

Standing: M. Morzinski, Yaakov Blacharski
Sitting: L. Shreibman, S. Plotzinski, D. Aloni, Yitzchak Tabenkin, Y. Aleksandroni, L. Staviskovski

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The Trumpeldor Group (1925)

Standing from right to left: Rivka Blechertzik, B. Ivriyah, Miriam Olechnovitz
Sitting: G. Blacharski, A. Vidogerski, Leah Chanikovski, R. Goldstein, H. Morzinski, Ch. Kaplan


The “HeChalutz HaTzair” Council

A. Morzinski, L. Shreibman, S. Koritzki, Y. Shadmi, D. Aloni, A. Chalupitzki


Translator's Footnotes:

  1. Exodus 50:20 “Besides, although you intended me harm, God intended it for good, so as to bring about the present result–the survival of a great nation.” Return
  2. An Israeli folk dance. Return
  3. Original footnote: At that time B. Chositzer, M. Levinzon, M. Morzinski, M. Amit, S. Plotzinski went up. Return

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My Way to “HeChalutz HaTzair

by Yishayahu Shadmi (Blechertzik)




A few reasons caused the awakening of national-Zionist feelings in the hearts of young people after the First World War.

  1. The Poles that were freed from the yoke of foreigners aroused the jealously of the Jews who remained in bondage.
  2. The new regime immediately began to harass the Jews, to narrow their steps and diminish their lives. The young Jew began to feel that he was sitting on a volcano, that he had no future among the gentiles. This was the driving force. On the other hand, the compelling force: the atmosphere that we absorbed in the religious or traditional house, and the education that we acquired with the good teachers. The parents were good Jews, proud, healthy in their souls and their bodies, tied to the ancestral heritage. They insisted on overcoming all the obstacles, and not to surrender to their oppressors. With our mothers' milk we too absorbed these qualities. When I heard father praying with devotion “and let our eyes behold your return to Zion with compassion”[1] it would make my heart tremble. The teachers saw to not only teaching us, but also to plant in our hearts a love of nation and Zion. I am reminded of the powerful impression that the huge collection that took place in the Great Synagogue following the San Remo decision left on me and on my friends, in which our mothers donated jewelry for the redemption fund. A short time after the collection, the first olim from the city went up to the land, and this too aroused yearning in us.

I remember a collection for work tools on behalf of “Kapai” for the workers of the land of Israel. My father donated a pliers that was very dear to him that he inherited from his grandfather. It is no wonder, therefore, that we jointly searched for an outlet for our dreams. In this way the scouts' organization “The Trumpeldor Guard” arose, which better expressed the desires of the generation, and in a short time inherited the place of the “HeChalutz HaTzair” organization. Each evening we gathered in the club. An intensive educational activity was conducted. One of the regulations set the obligation to speak Hebrew, and whoever made a mistake had to pay a fine for the benefit of the Keren Kayemet L'Yisrael. We read the Hebrew journalism “HaYom” and “HeChalutz HaTzair” that appeared in Poland, and the “Kuntrus,” “HaPoel HaTzair” and “Davar,” that came to us from the land. This was not just reading, for every week we were tested on everything that was connected to the land, to the “Histadrut,”[2] and to the collective movement. This method spurred us to deep reading. Each one attempted to be in order and not to fail. Many members began to learn professions suited to the needs of the land, for we decided to cut ourselves off from the exilic livelihoods of our parents. Our aspiration was to be workers of the soil in the land, and we began to train ourselves by means of working a vegetable garden on a plot of land that we rented on “The Long Street.” When we became adults and transferred to the “HeChalutz” organization, we went out

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for training, and after it we went up to the land. The “yordim[3] from the land that brought bad reports[4] did not dissuade us, and the crises and incidents[5] that broke out from time to time did after the son, that his brothers and sisters who were younger than him went up, and the parents with them. The chain was cut, to our great anguish, when the bitter enemy succeeded in destroying everything. Were it not for the tragedy that befell our people, we would have achieved that the great majority of the members of our city would be living with us – in the State of Israel.


Members of the “HeChalutz HaTzair” Branch (1928)

First row top from right to left: R. Rozenfeld, A. Vidogerski, Zaviela, G. Blacharski, Y. Otstein, D. Slovtitzki, R. Blechertzik, Z. Ampel
Second row: D. Topolovski, A. Arbstein, P. Cohain, Y. Blacharski, B. Morzinski, Y. Freimark, A. Drozinski, R. Kaplanski, S. Lifshitz
Third row: A. Leizerovitz, H. Morzinski, M. Amit, Fania Bergstein, A. Chalupitzki, D. Sherman, A. Barglovski, M. Kahn
Fourth row: Sh. Gravinski, Staviskovski, R. Goldstein, S. Plotzinski, Ch. Kaplan, … L. Chanikovski, A. Aleksandrovitz, M. Olchnovitz


Translator's Footnotes:

  1. From the liturgy. Return
  2. The General Organization of Workers in Israel, HaHistadrut HaKlalit shel HaOvdim B'Eretz Yisrael. Return
  3. This word means “descenders” and is the opposite of the word olim. It is a disparaging term for those who left the land of Israel and returned to Europe. Return
  4. Genesis 37:2 “…And Joseph brought bad reports of them to their father.” Return
  5. This word in this context refers to Arab riots against the Jews in the land during the period of the British Mandate, between the end of the First World War and the Establishment of the State of Israel. Return

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HaShomer HaTzair

by Zenya Riftin (Yones)




The HaShomer branch was established in Augustow at the end of the summer of 1927. The “HaShomer HaTzair” movement reached us after it had already undergone a period of searching for a way.

This was already a movement on the way to its consolidation, a movement that became one of the vigorous expressions of the fermenting Jewish youth.

The world view of HaShomer was not for the Jewish youth a specific political program, but rather a worldview vis-à-vis all of life. The “HaShomer HaTzair” movement was already then founded on the connection of its members to the Jewish people, and on the principle of personal-pioneer realization. The emphasis was placed especially on the design of the nature of the person, on his nearness to nature, on his deep education that he is a part of the new human society.

This movement was the fruit of a stormy period of the beginning of the 20th century – the conclusion of the First World War, the revolution in Russia, the Balfour Declaration. This was the background in which the buds of the movement sprouted.

That same ferment that surrounded the Jewish youth in the diaspora that period did not skip over the Jewish youth in Augustow.

The hearts were full of dreams of a repaired world, of a homeland, of a proud Jewish person in the land of the ancestors, of the work of one's hands. These dreams led the Jewish youth to various political movements. There were those who saw the focus as a class war, a war of equal rights, and there were those who saw the exile as only a vestibule,[1] and the most important thing was aliyah to the land. And there were those who walked in the footsteps of the brilliant analysis of Borochov.[2]

Indeed, all of that mosaic of ideas found its expression in our city as well. There was some of everything in it. “Bund,” “Tzeirei Tzion,” “Poalei Tzion,” in its two factions, and of course also “HeChalutz.”

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Each one chose for himself the way that was closest to himself. The division was not according to echelon or class. It was possible to find more than a few families where each member of the family belonged to another stream. The feast at the shared table – more than one turned into a political symposium.

The “HaShomer HaTzair” movement was founded after other movements preceded it. It was possible to suppose that there was no living space for another movement. And yet see a wonder: with the first announcement of the foundation of the movement, tens of members of the youth immediately presented themselves in its ranks. When we come to tell the story of “HaShomer HaTzair” in Augustow, it is impossible not to mention the young men and women, the boys and girls, the beautiful and pure-hearted. All of them, we must remember all of them.

There were some whose path was consistent. From the movement – to training – to aliyah – to the kibbutz. And all of their lives were dedicated to this movement, until this day. To our deep sorrow they are alone.


The “HaShomer HaTzair” Branch

Row 1, from right to left: Yaakov Trestzenski, Channah Gotlib, Yekutiel, Feigl Sarvianski, Gershovitz, Rachel Aleksandrovitz, Kentzuk, S. Zufnitzki
Second Row: Kestin, Peshke Aronovski, … Fredka Aleksandrovitz, L. Blech, R. Gotstein, Z. Leizerovski, B. Rotstein.
Third row: Y. Feivovorski, S. Kaplan, Freyda Sarvinski, Z. Kentzuk, Zenya Yones, Domovitz, Esther Ivraiski, Volmir
Fourth row: S. Kaplanski, Berta Grosberg, Beila Ratzitzki, Edah Mintz, Y. Ratzitzki, Liza Saperstein, Sonka Kleinman

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There were those who reached the land and for various reasons did not continue to the kibbutz. They were weak and had little faith, and were not able to live up to the ten commandments of HaShomer.[3] The charms of the present overcame them, and they dropped out. And there were those who carried with them the dream of HaShomer HaTzair on their final path, the path of suffering, which the Jewish people walked during the years of the Shoah. For these, for the last, let these lines be a memorial.

Who were the youth that joined the movement? These were not those who had left other movements. This was principally youth who, for some reason, did not find their place in one of the existing movements.

There was not a high school in our city. One who wanted to continue in their learning had to wander to far-off places. Not all of them were able to withstand that. Part of these youth, who for various reasons were not able to continue in their studies or were forced to stop them, constituted the foundation of the Shomer branch in Augustow. Indeed, even working youth, or partly working, found their way to “HaShomer HaTzair.” And there was in this

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great blessing. The synthesis between the working and learning youth formed, on the one hand, a folksy atmosphere, and on the other hand, caused a broadening of horizons.


HaShomer HaTzair Branch

Row 1 (from right to left): S. Kaplan, Yehuda Gershovitz, Rachel Aleksandrovitz, Drozinski, Noach Sarvianski, Y. Feivovorski, Volmir, Zelda Lenzinger, Yocheved Preis, Freydka Sarvianski, Esther Ivraiski
Row 2: Devorah Staviskovski, Leah Strozinski, Batya Gizumski, Dora Borovitz, Edah Mintz, Feshka Aronovski, Freydka Aleksandrovitz
Row 3: Grodzin, Zelda Grodzin, Levatinski, Dovka, Beilka, Devorah Kremer, Sheindel Kolfenitzki, Hadassah Lenzinger, Leizerovski
Row 4: … Golda Eilender, Bilovzetzki, B. Ratzitzki, Zenya Yones, Feigl Sarvianski, Tuvia Feivoshvitz, … M. Volmir


The foundation of the branch encountered sharp opposition from the existing organizations, who saw it as a serious competitor for the same human material from which “HeChalutz” and “HeChalutz HaTzair” drew its members. Not so the adult Jewish female member. She accepted us with great encouragement, and even political opponents sworn as general Zionists, and Revisionists. Here Mr. Abba Orimland must be mentioned favorably. Although he was from a political aspect a rival, he was among the first that signed off on the request to receive a permit from the Polish authorities to establish the branch.

As was said, the ranks of the branch were immediately filled with young men and women of varying ages. There were male and female “Seniors,” ages 17-18, the scouts, girls and boys, ages 14-16, and the young lions, the youngest, to whom the Seniors served as counselors.

The branch began its active life when the main part of the work was concentrated in the Shomer group, the same Shomer group that was like a kind of new house for the youth. In it was conducted varied activity. It began from the scouting game

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for education about the character of the individual, reading together in a book, the analysis, the dream, to the point of confession and self-examination. We conducted the activities in two areas: in the bosom of nature, and in the branch.


HaShomer HaTzair” Branch

Vilenski, Kolfenitzki, D. Kremer, Sarvianski, Gershovitz, S. Kaplan, Levatinski, Edah Mintz, Golda Eilender, Fredka Aleksandrovitz, Freydka Sarvianski, Esther Ivriyah, Yocheved Preis
Second row: Zelda Lenzinger, L. Starazinski, Channah Linda, Esther Eilender, Devorah Staviskovski, Rachel Aleksandrovitz, Feshka Aronovitz
Third row: Shmuel Zufnitzki, Selke Kaufman, Rivka Rozenfeld, Yekutiel, Feigeleh Sarvianski, Beila Rotstein, Channah Gotlib

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HaShomer HaTzair” Branch


HaShomer HaTzair” Branch

From right to left: Yoske Levatinski, Channah Gotlib, Esther Ivraiski, Freydka Sarvianski, … … Esther Eilender, Zelda Lenzinger, … Sonka Kleinman, … Berta Grosberg, Feshka Aronovitz, Fredka Aleksandrovitz, Golda Eilender, Yehuda Gershovitz, Feigeleh Sarvianski, Noach Sarvianski, Kolfenitzki, Dovka Vilenski, Leka Starazinski, Rachel Aleksandrovitz, Channah Linda, Rivka Rozenfeld, Yekutiel, Shabtai Kaplan, Selke Kaufman, Yaakov Trestzenski
Next to the bicycles, Shmuel Zufnitzki
Caption in the Photo: HaShomer HaTzair” Branch in Augustow on a One-Day Boating Expedition, 18 Tamuz, the Year 5687 [1927]


The wonderful paths of the forest and the lakes that were hidden within them, no one was witness to our games, our songs, and our conversations. In the evening the “HaShomer HaTzair” branch was crowded with happy youth, dancing and singing. Of course, more than once we were a burden on the neighbors “that we were dancing on their heads,” and more than once we were forced to wander, until we were securely housed, until the last day, in the house of the Aleksandrovitz family, who spread its wings over us, and we, in return, spread our wings over the daughters of the family (Fredka, Rachel, and Channah).


The “Shomrot[4] Group

Standing from right to left: A. Eilender, M. Shumski, Ch. Lozman, B. Blacharski …
Sitting: Zenya Yones, S. B. Dubrin, Lenzinger, R. Halprin
Third row: F. Sarvianski, Liza Borovitz, Esther Ivriyah


The period of foundation and organization went by, and life entered a normal course. The youths sought to fulfill the “movement commandments”: going out to a summer colony or for training. A clash between the parents and the children suddenly appeared; the period of the “revolt of the child” began.

The parents saw “HaShomer HaTzair” as a place for games, for spending time, and no more. That feeling

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that their children had, that the exile was a vestibule, that the ground was burning under their feet, that the true way was the way of realization and aliyah to the land, was not the parents' portion. More than once we were helped by Mother Aleksandrovitz,[5] who placed on herself the difficult role – to influence other mothers, who would make it possible for their sons and daughters to participate in the activities of the movement, in summer colonies or in training.


… Shabtai Kaplan, Freydka Sarvianski, Zenya Yones, Esther Ivriyah, Edah Mintz


The movement continued to ferment. Its economic existence was based on independent actions, taxes and the organization of receptions, which became a cultural experience for the youth of the town.

The members of “HaShomer HaTzair” took an active part in the activities of the Zionist movement. Especially beloved to the youth was the activity of emptying “The Blue Box,” the same box that was in many houses the finest ornament. With fear and love[6] they would volunteer for this work, and more than once we were welcomed warmly into the houses of the poor of the people, and the opposite – into the houses of the “Lords.”

Also from the aspect of powers of leadership the branch carried itself, except for the adult echelon.

The adult echelon based its work mainly on self-education and group work. In light of the lack of a high school in Augustow, this had a special reality. Here one must mention

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especially the important role that was fulfilled by the librarian Shaika Plotzinski, may his memory be for a blessing, who faithfully and devotedly guided the library visitors, in offering to each one the appropriate book for them.

The problem of the lack of counselors was sharply felt with the aliyah to the land of the first counselors. However, the movement did not neglect the Augustovi branch. With the help of counselors from outside the expected activity was continued. In this way the matters of the movement were administered in an orderly fashion until the year 1931, the year of the departure of the adult echelon, the counselors, for training.

A change of guard took place. The scouts that grew up in the movement took upon themselves the leadership of the branch. The load was too heavy, and they could not withstand it. In the year 1933, when the adult Shomrim returned from training they found the branch in a condition of disintegration. They energetically took upon themselves the renewed organizing. Again the branch blossomed, the ranks were filled, the groups led their lives in proper order.

A great privilege fell to me. I was able to accompany the “HaShomer HaTzair” movement in Augustow from its first steps. A sad privilege also fell to me – to tell the last story. In the year 1939, a month before the outbreak of the Second World War, I spent a number of weeks in Poland, and it was natural that I came to visit in Augustow. On one of the wonderful summer evenings the entire branch gathered in the forest, on the bank of a lake. Surrounded by young men and women, most of whom I did not know, I told them about the shared education on the kibbutz. Eyes sparkling with curiosity, with desire to know, eyes yearning, longings and dreams, accompanied my story. The conversation flowed for a long hour. The singing reverberated a distance among the pine trees. I and they – did not know that this was the end.

Ein Shemer 5724 [1964]

Translator's Footnotes:

  1. Mishnah Avot 4:16 “Rabbi Jacob said: this world is like a vestibule before the world to come; prepare yourself in the vestibule, so that you may enter the banqueting-hall.” Return
  2. Dov Ber Borochov, 1881 – 1917, was a Marxist Zionist and one of the founders of the Labor Zionist movement. Return
  3. The Ten Commandments of HaShomer HaTzair:
    1. The Shomer/et is a man/woman of truth and stands on its guard.
    2. The Shomer/et is an integral part of the Jewish people and strongly connected to the State of Israel. He/she is rooted in his/her culture and is a chalutz/a of our Judaism.
    3. The Shomer/et finds meaning in his/her relationship to work and fights to create a world where labor is a productive expression of human creativity and freedom.
    4. The Shomer/et is politically active and a forerunner in the pursuit of freedom, equality, peace and solidarity.
    5. The Shomer/et is a committed chaver/a that works jointly with others, struggles for the progress of society and promotes Shomer values.
    6. The Shomer/et actively develops and maintains relationships which are intentional, free and honest within the group and the whole Shomer community. He/She takes the responsibility to look after his/her chaverim.
    7. The Shomer/et respects and cares about nature; he/she gets to know it, learns how to live within it and acts in accordance with sustainable practices.
    8. The Shomer/et is courageous, independent, thinks critically and takes initiative accordingly.
    9. The Shomer/et strengthens his/her character and strives towards physical, mental and spiritual wholeness.
    10. The Shomer/et is led by his/her reason and takes full responsibility for his/her actions. He/she sets a personal example.
  4. The feminine plural form of the word shomer, guard. Return
  5. Original footnote: * Chaitza. Return
  6. In Aramaic. Return

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The Beitar Movement and HaTzohar[1] in Augustow

by Dr. Moshe Markus




The beginning of the Revisionist movement, HaTzohar, within the Zionist movement, was in 1924. In that period the first nucleus of the Revisionist youth movement Beitar (Brit Trumpeldor)[2] was also established.

The movement spread in all the countries of the exile, and achieved a significant scope in Poland.

With the conclusion of my studies at universities in Germany and Prague, I returned to Augustow. In those days I arranged a lecture, in the local movie theatre on “The Long Street,” about the HaTzohar movement and Beitar. The organization of Beitar began as a continuation of that, and the lawyer Moshe Gotkovski from Suwalk (today he lives in Tel Aviv) was invited to the founding assembly. The lecture took place in the great hall that was on “Zoibgasse,” and drew a large audience. Already then the Revisionist movement and Beitar were the topic of many arguments on the Zionist street. With the enthusiasm of the violent ideological and organizational struggle between the Zionist youth movements, the lecture went by amid great commotion and many disturbances.

After the lecture the first groups of HaTzohar and Beitar were organized. Veteran members of the Zionists joined the movement in the city, and a youth group that served as the foundation of the Beitar branch. Over the course of many years Mr. Abba Orimland served as Chairperson of the movement and its representative to the government.

Among the active members of Beitar one must mention: the Commander of Beitar Yechezkel Rotstein, Arieh Borovitz, Eli Noach Stolnitzki, Alter Kaplanski, Moshe Glikstein, Yaakov Gotlib, Chaim Orimland, and Bielka Papirovitz.

The first female Commander of the Beitar branch in Augustow, at whose head stood Yechezkel Rotstein, was active until 1938. From his hands Bielka Papirovitz received the command, and she led the branch until her aliyah to the land (a month before the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939). Yechezkel Rotstein was exiled in the days of the war to Russia, where he was drafted into the Red Army and killed on the Finland front. Bielka Papirovitz was a student at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, when she was killed by Arab snipers' bullets on her way to Har HaTzofim.[3]

The people of the Revisionist movement and Beitar in Augustow were active in the Zionist and cultural life in the city. They participated, together with the people of the other Zionist movements, in all the activities and fundraising campaigns for the benefit of the land of Israel, and engaged in pioneer training of their members in preparation for their aliyah to the land.

The Beitar branch operated in Augustow until the outbreak of the war. When the Russians entered the city,

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all Zionist activity was stopped. Many members of the movement were imprisoned, among them the Chairperson of the movement in the city Mr. Abba Orimland, who was exiled to Russia together with his family, and died there. His family returned from exile in Siberia at the end of the war, and settled in the land. His son Chaim went up to the land in the ship “Altalena.”[4]

Only a few were saved from the Shoah. Individual members of Beitar found their way to the land. In this way the reaper came up against the idealistic youth movement Beitar in Augustow, which aspired and educated for aliyah and realization in the land.

Translator's Footnotes:

  1. Another name for Beitar, named for Yosef Trumpeldor. Return
  2. A Revisionist Zionist youth movement founded in 1923 in Riga, Latvia, by Vladimir (Ze'ev) Jabotinsky. Return
  3. Mt. Scopus. Return
  4. The Altalena Affair was a confrontation in June 1948 between the Israel Defense Forces and the Irgun (HaIrgun HaTzva?i HaLeumi B'Eretz Yisrael, “The National Military Organization in the Land of Israel”), one of the Jewish paramilitary groups, led by Menachem Begin, that was merging with the IDF. The Altalena had been loaded with weapons and fighters by the Irgun,but arrived during the period of the Irgun's absorption into the IDF. There was shooting took place the IDF and the Irgun, 19 men were killed, and the ship caught fire from the shooting and the arms it contained. Return


HaMizrachi in our town experienced continual growth. The Torah VeAvodah[1] movement was also growing from day to day. Thanks to the members of the HaMizrachi committee, Messrs Binyomin Zhelaze (chairman), Sender Lenzinger (secretary), Moyshe Rabinovitsh (treasurer), a massive recruitment campaign was organized to increase membership. With this goal in mind, last Peysach, the HaMizrachi and Torah VeAvodah movements organized a grand festive celebration. The event was opened by the head of HeKhalutz HaMizrachi, Mr. Yoysef Gizomski, who shared the stage with Rabbi Khayim and Yoyl Grudzien. Other speakers included: Rabbi Gedalye Gizomski, Reb Yankev Tuker, and the members of the Torah VeAvodah movement, Binyomin Badenes (Kibbutz Mohilover), Moyshe Yehuda Grudzien (director of Tarbut) and Ben-Tsien Fulvinski.

Moment 1934 (No. 96)

Translator's Footnote:

  1. “Torah and Labor,” a religious Zionist movement. Return


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