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[Page 397]

In Our Own Country


Our Town People from the Second Aliya

by Our Town People from the Second Aliya

Translated by Anita Frishman Gabbay

In 1906, Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Virgin and his wife Sarah made Aliya and settled in Zichron-Moshe, Jerusalem.

In 1908, Rabbi Rafael Davidson and his family made Aliya. He set up a cork factory.

In 1910, Shmuel Rubinstein and his family made Aliya and bought a house in Tel-Aviv. He was the cornerstone-layer of the “Beit-El” synagogue on Frishman Street, where a souvenir board in honor of him was cemented into the wall.

The printer Naftali Zvi Zhabner made an earlier Aliya. He returned later.

In 1912, Rabbi Menachem Krul with his family made Aliya. The former painter now built houses and bought an estate.

The binder Shlomo Weintroib made Aliya to his son Zechariah, Naftali Zhabner's son-in-law.

The Aliya was made by all levels of the pioneer movements, they worked in fields, building, on the roads and so on.

Rafael Davidson worked in the “processing-plant” of Montefiore, with his son Israel Chaim, under the direction of “Mikveh Israel Direction”. They dug the holes in the ground to plant the groves by Sharona. They had to compete with the Arab workers, who worked for a lower wage. They started at that time to build in Tel-Aviv and Davidson had the opportunity to lay the cornerstone of the first house of the “Ahuzat-Bet” neighbourhood. He built the second house (for the Rabbi's widow) on Hertzl Street and the third house (for Akiva Wise), on the corner of Hertzl and “Ahad Ha'am” and also built the house for the “Hertzliah” gymnasium. Then, he and his son, built the cork factory.

Yosef Nehushtan relates, in 1910, Godel Feldman involved him in Zionist activities. The “Kadima” (secret) was then founded. The members were Moshe Rosentzweig-Sushni and Kalman Grosfeld, who decided to make Aliya together. But Kalman departed alone, in the summer 1912, without a ticket and without a pass, to Odessa. From there they sent him back. He wasn't deterred and tried his luck again (again without a pass) and arrived in Vienna. He worked in Vienna, made some money and left for Trieste. He arrived in the Land in 1913.

Soon after Kalman, Yosef Nehushtan made Aliya.

After the group with Zelker, Weisbard and Seifman, as leader, arrived. Living in Haifa, he rushed to Shprinzak, who lent him 2 bashliks (coins), for his first business [expenses].

In the days (after the First World War), Zelker came from the club “Ahuva” to Haifa, and at the Carmel Mountain he was knifed to death by an Arab.

The first organized pioneer groups from the second Aliya became a model for the youth and encouragement for future Aliyas.

Yitzhak Weisbard demonstrated a lot of courage and heroism with his collisions with Arabs in Merhavia. He was among the excellent guards in the Valley of Jezriel. He was one of the first to settle in Afula, where his widow and two sons remain until today.

Moishe Seifman settled in the south. He also worked as a guard. He and Weisbard died from heart disease and Zelker fell as a victim in the Carmel.

Neihoise (Ben-Yehuda)and Grushkevitch, together with other members of that group, continued in agriculture in Kfar Ma'ala.

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At a gathering of Radomer immigrants, Grushkevitch recounted:

Before I arrived in Eretz Israel, I was not a Zionist. In 1921, when I came to Radom to visit my family, I found in existence a Zionist movement. Zionism was awakened due to the merit of these teachers, Lifshitz, Danzinger, Holtzman, and others. They “planted” the sentiment for Eretz Israel into the minds of their students. The Krul and Davidson families were the example for the newcomers, with the second and beginning of the third Aliyas. In the Jewish division, with me were: Chaim, Josef and Yacov Krul, Neihoise, Davidson's two sons and Nahushtan. Besides us, there were other Radomers in our division, but our contact with them was weak.

The house of the Krul family was the first station for each Radomer Aliya, where they were welcomed and encouraged. In Radom they had baths and a river, which was called “Krul's River”. They were painters and they continued their work in the Land. Chaim and Abba Krul made Aliya in 1911, a year later-their father, R'Menachem and the other brothers and sisters. Chaim died in 1934 in Avihail [Moshav north of Netanya], where his two sons live.

Across Borders

by M. Stashefski

Translated by Anita Frishman Gabbay

Every Aliya had its own special place and honor in the history of Zionism. As you can see in the section “Movements”, in our book (see page 173 to 183), Radomers were among the early settlers and participated in the first, second, third and fourth Aliyas.

But besides these Aliyas, whether among one or another, Radomer Jews were part of each Aliya. So, for example, in 1919, there was an illegal Aliya under the direction of the pioneer movement. Then Radomers “crossed” over the Polish- German border through Sosnowiec, Katovich. Sixty-four Radomers luckily managed to cross the border peacefully until the border was hermetically sealed.

The writer of these lines then had the opportunity to come over with one of these transports.

After the Polish- Bolshevik War, in 1920, the “crossing” of the border was renewed. This time-through the Polish- Czech border: Cheshin.

This is not the place to describe entirely the whole affair and to remember those, who through all means possible, made Aliya.

We will continue to remember the pioneer group with Mones Werber, of blesed memory, his wife Hava Rozhanna, Yocheved Zuker (Jacobson), Avraham Goldstein and Morgenstern, who were(in 1922) were the last “departees”. This “crossing”[departure] stopped because of the uncertainties, for which the writer of these lines was then arrested.

Meetings with A.D. Gordon and Yosef Trumpeldor

by David Tzidkuni (Rechtman)

Translated by Anita Frishman Gabbay

Having passed through my wandering-road, I arrived in the Land together with the group “105”. In Jaffa we were welcomed by Zvi Lieberman, who offered me administrative work in the “Workers' Council” in Tel Aviv. I declined the offer and went to the “Bilu” (Palestine pioneers) Colony of Gedera (Gdera, 13 km. south of Rehovot). There I encountered I.M. Pines, Hazanovitch, Liebovich and others. But soon after the first debate with the young generation in Gedera, I left for Ruhama(“Mercy”)* which was then the most southerly part in the Land.

Besides my work, we kept ourselves busy with Haganah [defense] matters. Our weapons consisted of 18 English rifles. When the Upper Galilee was attacked, we

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came to their help. I was accompanied by Joab Katz from Zgierg, who later was among the Haganah officers in the War of Independence.

For a while I remained in the Galilee and worked between Degania and Kinneret. We worked together with A.D. Gordon, cleaning the fields according to his instructions. In the evening we tied up the donkeys, loaded the wagons with the work tools and climbed up into the wagon to return home. I sat at the back of the wagon, and saw that A.D. Gordon, with his boots and tools on his shoulders, was going by foot! The soil was muddy and the road was difficult. I descended from the wagon and approached him.

--The donkeys have worked hard the whole day-Gordon said-and if they are going by foot, I am also capable of going by foot…

One time, on a Saturday afternoon, Gordon came to Bitania[Illit] for a debate with us. He told us about his promenade with I. H.[Yosef Chaim] Brenner* among the Arab orchards in Jaffa, where they heard insults at the expense of the “Yahud”(Jews). This gave him to understand that they were preparing an attack against us.

One evening, Joseph Baratz knocked on the door of our hut. He said that I and Katz should take the rifles, awake Aaron Sher, and go together to Metula. Sher and Sturm had already left, so we went alone to our destination. We saw a rider descending his horse and approaching us. He came closer and we recognized him: Yosef Trumpeldor.

- Where are you going, friend?- he asked

- To Metula.

- We have enough people in Metula-said Trumpeldor-go back to Bitania and save your weapons. Your protection will be needed there.

We listened to Trumpeldor and returned. And in this manner, it was not destined to participate in the historic Battle of Tel- Hai.

The Hut of Malka'le Neidik

by Miriam Shir - a friend from the kibbutz

Translated by Anita Frishman Gabbay

It was 1920 when the wave of the third Aliyah was almost disrupted when the Balfour Declaration lost its initial brilliance and the pioneers' hopes and enthusiasm were swept away. The Mufti's gangs ran wild in the streets of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jaffa, Tzefat [Sefad], Tiberias and in various colonies. In the Land unemployment reigned. The Mandate Authority opened the borders for the Arab masses, which they employed in public and governmental work for the price of four groshen per day. The competition was great and the despair even greater.

In those days, Malka'le Zuker, the daughter of Rabbi Fischl Shochet, arrived and her appearance lifted the unhappy mood of the Radomer young pioneers. She brought with her coziness, sisterhood, motherly-love, moreover, we immediately had joy: her wedding to Shmuel Neidick, a member of our group. The wedding- ball took place in the house of our and everyone's friend and patron of the Radomers, Rabbi Mendel Krul, and almost every Radomer in the Land participated.

On the vast and glistening sands of the neighborhood “Heart of Tel Aviv”, the young couple, with their own hands, with pieces of boards and other materials, built a hut consisting of one room. Soon this became the gathering place of all the Radomers, who again saw a white tablecloth, a curtain and a delicious, friendly “landlord”, creating a homely atmosphere. Here we needed to forget the crisis, the need, the depressed moods. Instead of this, we sang a song, a homey melody or an oriental melody, and we sang and we dreamt under the red sunset and under the vast-starry sky.

When a new arrival stepped down from the boat, his first steps were to Malka'le's hut. Here they found rest, here they met with colleagues and friends, here their hunger was quenched, and here they were encouraged. From spending the night, there was never any doubt. And in this single room, where the couple lived with their child, often three or four or five friends spent the night and they slept, as in Abraham Reizan's song, “a family affair”[together]…

Schmuel Neitik worked at “Solel Boneh” (Construction and Public Works), but it was not important if he brought home a salary, if not-Malka always had respect for all. Whoever came in the morning, took their breakfast with them, whoever came at noon, ate with them, this was the free restaurant- hotel for all the Radomer friends. From here a common outcome took place, for a walk, also

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for concerts in the “people's house”, for Haganah assignments, to stand on guard during the night on the border of Manasseh and Jaffa…

In Malka'les hut, a plan was formed to overcome unemployment and become more independent: the building club “Achriut” (responsibility) was created in which the following took part: Schmuel Neitdik, the late Eliezar Eliahu Koifman, Avigdor Bakman, Ovadia Margalit, David Shir, Menachim Kriez, the Ostravicer Schmuel Neidik, Zvi Krongold, Hanina Margalit and some non- Radomers. All specialists with seniority, black workers or a new immigrant who tested his strength in his first days of arrival, received the same salary. That club worked by contracting, undertook large construction jobs and actually was the co-founder of the Solel -Boneh with the late Eliezer Kaplan. The club built Ben-Shemen, Atrarot and a whole row of private buildings in Tel Aviv. Malka'le's hut was transformed to a labour Bureau, where they wrote and went over, made cases, paid wages, handled bookkeeping, conducted meetings and discussions…

Many future Aliyas [immigrants], on their first day of arrival, received work in this club. Many of them learned the building- craft and today are famous builders. When the club worked on a building, nobody had the luxury to go eat lunch. Our buddies ate what they had brought with them. But Schmuel Neidik was no longer a member. Malka'la used to come running with a basket with a cup, plate and spoon- fork. She climbed onto the scaffold, made of brick-a bench from a board-a table, spread out a tablecloth and the smell of her tasty soup, with hot burgers and roasted potatoes, and each one of the friends could not stop thinking about a wife… but until when, Malka'le was in charge in “all events of the house”, a “match”(shiduch) was made, when the friend actually got married, then Malka'le undertook to teach the young wives how to manage a household: to wash, to darn, cook, fry and bake a pie…

Malka'le never carried any hatred even to those who wronged her. Even if someone broke into the hut and ate everything, which she had prepared for the Sabbath, she never took any offence: the hungry immigrants needed to eat. Let him be well. If a professional thief would sometimes break into the hut and steal 15 pounds, which was a fortune in those times -Malka'le felt sorry that he could not leave his old ways and she said: “his end will be that he will need to become an honest person and a good immigrant. Instead of breaking locks he will eventually need to build houses in “Tel Aviv”…

The club existed for seven years. Over time much changed in the Land. The Pioneers acclimated, established their own homes, and changed their old ways, with updated customs.

In 1930, Malka's hut burnt down and the romantic pioneer period of our Radomer Kibbutz also went up in smoke with this fire… not one of the former hut owners mentions now, “the good old times”, with longing and heartbeat. The words, “Malka'le's hut” evokes pleasant memories and smiling faces…

The Neitik family left for Jerusalem, and later, after many years returned to Tel Aviv. Their house was open for everyone in the circle of friends and admirers which grew around them.

At the end of the Second World War, Malka still managed to receive the survived refugees, as welcoming guests with her heartfelt friendliness…. she sent letters to various institutions to find relatives, for whom she served as a light tower.

When she listened to the Jewish trials and tribulations of this gruesome “destruction”, which the survivors told her and despite not telling her about the tragic destruction of her dear parents, (Rabbi Fishel Shochet and Esterl, may their blood be avenged, the first Radomer Jewish victims, murdered in cold- blood by a Polish hooligan in their home)-she could no longer endure. The motherly-heart of this gentle Malka'le instantly collapsed---

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The Virgin Family

by Israel Frenkel/Virgin family

Translated by Anita Frishman Gabbay

Rabbi Abraham Yitzhak Virgin and his wife Sarah, were among the first who made Aliyah from Radom, in 1900, who left behind all their affairs and set up home in Jerusalem. He was an Alexander Hasid and the owner of a house in Radom. He also built a beautiful house in Jerusalem, in the Zichron-Moshe section, where they lived their entire lives. They lived to a ripe old age and came to their resting place on the Mount of Olives, in 1909. They left their house for the Jewish community use for 25 years, and later it would be given to their son.

Their son Dov Berish remained in Radom, as well as the grandson Chaim Zvi and son-in law Mordehai Ferster-rich merchants, social workers and lovers of Torah. Mordecai Ferster was a prominent Radomsker Hasid, and a homeowner. He founded “Talmud Torah”, was an administrator of the “Homeowners Union” for many years and a member of various other institutions, living to a ripe old age. His three daughters are in Israel. One died in Jerusalem and she is buried on the Mount of Olives.

Dov Berish and his wife Miriam(the daughter of rabbi Ezriel Hacohen Blass and the grandson of rabbi Itzhak Hacohen-the butchers' father-in-law) devoted much of his time[in Radom] working to spread education. Their sons studied with Shimson Rafael Hirsh in Frankfurt. Dov Berish was an important merchant, nevertheless, he found the time for Torah and Chasidut, for charitable institutions and for the funds. He was a board member in “Mizrahi”. in 1921 he went to live in Weisbaden, Germany, from where he was driven out in 1938, together with other Polish citizens and on the eve of the war, he and his family arrived in Eretz Israel. They settled in Jerusalem, in the home of his parents. Miriam died before the proclamation of the Jewish state and Berish went to live with his children in New York, where he died in KISLEV 5715. His body was brought back to Jerusalem and was buried in Sanhedria.

Dov Berish was the type of a beautiful personality. Wherever he went, he did his duty for “Misrahi”. He participated in congresses and in conferences of the movement. A noble man, with affection for humanity.

Chaim-Zvi Virgin was an Alexander Hasid and close to the rabbi. His father, rabbi Joseph Menachem, died while quite young. Chaim-Zvi married Ita, the daughter of his uncle rabbi Mordechai Ferster. He was active in a “A.I. Emet” and he was an advocate for Zionism. After the outbreak of the First World War, he managed to escape to Switzerland. When he returned to Radom, he was elected as chairman of the Zionist organization. As a merchant, representative and owner of a sawmill, he used travel often. At this site (in Rafaelofska, near Bialystock) many worked as“pioneers” [ preparing to make Aliya]. In 1929 he visited Eretz Israel and in 1934 he moved to Tel Aviv permanently, where he continued his social work until his last days of his life, in 5718. He was privileged to see the beginning of the redemption [creation of the State of Israel].

A large portion of his fortune was left behind in Poland. His wife lives in Tel Aviv and his only son, Joseph, an engineer married the daughter of the late rabbi and merchant rabbi Abraham Ron from Jerusalem.

The Virgin and Ferster family belong to the intellectual aristocracy of our last generation.

Wolf Virgin, rabbi Abraham Yitzhak's grandson, lives in America.

He published a book in English about the history of coins in old Eretz Israel and he is considered a great expert in this field. He also published articles about Jewish history in scientific magazines where he shows proficiency in Judaica, Talmud and universal science. He is the assistant of the well known Jewish Orientologist in America, Cyrus Gordon, from Brandeis University.

Joseph Zvi recently died, the son of Berish Virgin.

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Concentrated Work-Places in the Land

by I.L. Zuker

Translated by Anita Frishman Gabbay

Aliyah from Radom dates back to the last century. The first were the Davidson and Krul families who have written a glorious pioneering chapter. Even when the slightest possibilities were evident making it difficult to arrive in the Land, small groups and families from Radom still managed to made Aliya.

The first group, which produced the third AIiya, was the well-known group “105”, which left at the end of the First World War, without a way and without a route, without documents and without means. Among the group of “105” were 65 young people from the Radomer movement “Hashomer”, and after them the Aliya-flows did not stop until the outbreak of the Second World War. The groups who made Aliya came from all classes of society, merchants and craftsman, wealthy and religious children, students and youth- workers. Every Aliya group brought to the Land, Radomers, who immediately took their trowel and hammer to work in the towns, villages, fields and on the roads. The earlier immigrants prepared various industries, workplaces for the newly arrived, for example: in the brick factory“Silicat” in Rashun, in the club “Achirut” or in the dental factory “Blum” in Tel Aviv, in the mushroom- factory “Nur” in Akko(Acre), in kibbutz “Gan Shmuel” in Samaria and in other places.

In the beginning of the twenties, when the building boom started and the members in the building movement in the Land were not aware of preparing and guiding new building-workers,-one of the methods was: to organize independent groups for subcontracting.

The groups accepted working on conditions of equal wages for all friends. These groups built the largest part of the neighborhood of “Tel Aviv”. One of these groups, “Achirut” was founded by Shmuel Neitik (the son of rabbi Israel Yitzhak Schochet), Ovadiah Margalit, Avigdor Bakman,the late Eliezer Eliahu Koifman and others. About this club it has already been described in the memories, “Malka'le Neidik's hut”. When a new Aliya arrived at the hut to seek work, Shmuel's answer was “tomorrow you can take your shovel and go to your work”. With this the newcomer was relieved, saved from unemployment and need.

In 1926, the well known philanthropist, the Lithuanian- American manufacturer, the late Samuel Blum, built a factory of artificial teeth in Tel-Aviv. And in the same year as Yehuda Leibish Zucker started to work (rabbi Fischel Shochet's grandson) in the factory, it became a place of livelihood for many Radomers. The factory increased in size and the its opportunities increased. The following came to work here: Boruh Rakatch, Regina Zeidenweber, Miriam ( granddaughter of Peter Beckerman) and others. Prominent positions are held until today by: Feivel Reba, Yehusha Wiener and Yehuda Zuker, where our heartfelt Yechiel Frenkel came to visit when he needed to find work for Radomers in the tooth factory.

Yehuda Zuker proposed that the building of the new factory in Nahalat- Yitzhak, in 1934, should be given to our builders Shmuel Neidik and his brother-in-law Moshe Becker, the husband of Yocheved Neidik.

A Letter from Radom

by I.L. Zuker

Translated by Janie Respitz

Radom, April 24th 1922

To all our friends from Radom in the Land of Israel!

Much to our regret, due to our strained work we have not had the opportunity to connect the torn threads among us. We (the left Labour Zionists) who raised you on our laps, gave you spirit and nourished you with the Jewish renaissance as brave and proud fighters, introduced you to the revolutionary avant – garde here where the exhausted Jewish worker must find his place. We know very well that the road to redemption is difficult, but not impossible. If you look today at the economic ruin of the Jewish workers, the horrible reaction that put an end to our blossoming movement, you will once again be convinced by the truth of Marxist Borochovism. 100 of those organized

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will finally find meaning in their economic life like the 500 of us.

All that we have built and created, with so much effort and blood over these past few years is in jeopardy, and if anything still exists, it is thanks to 2-3 people.

It is a horrible crime when members of one family, come to Palestine and totally forget their old home. We would now like to evaluate a bridge between us.

We don't want to make Palestine a fetish and spit on the diaspora as many want to do. We do want to create a common union for the national general redemption based on a Marxist foundation.

Comrade Shmuel has to come to you but you have not been nice. We turned to you and you have remained silent. A comrade who has devoted his life to this and you treat him in such a negative way. Comrade Shmuel has another request. The field of work is wide and his work there, believe me will bring colossal usefulness for many positions. Comrade Shalom turned to all his acquaintances and family on the same matter and no one has answered him.

Is it impossible to send papers?

This is the situation: I also want to come to you in the next few weeks. I have the money for the trip. I need you to provide me with papers. Perhaps it is possible at the Palestine office on Rupin[?]. I was registered there 12-13 years ago. Don't let the unemployment scare you. There are unemployed in more important countries with qualified workers like in Palestine.

The socialist victory says Marx is zigzag. Sometimes defeat, sometimes victorious until the final victory.

We really want to know who from Radom has remained in our family and who are the traitors from the working class who left? Write to me about everything. Are our people really speaking Hebrew or are they proud to speak Yiddish?

Over the last few days we opened a book store with the nicest most modern publications. I would like to send you some books for your library.

You will soon be more than a few Radomers in the Land. Many are planning to go. Help them as best you can.

We will soon have a convention of Jews from Radom in Jaffa, true? Please send me the Yiddish magazine you publish.

There are many arrests here every day. 40 men from all political movements are sitting in jail.

On Passover we had very nice events. We recently had 2 great poets here: Peretz Markish and Uri Zvi Greenberg. I will send you their writings.

Write and tell me what type of work I can do. Will I get work in carpentry?

Zechariah is preparing to travel.

Write to me about everything and don't be stingy with news.

Regards to Avromcheh, Avrom and Khane Boyman, Rubman, Soreleh, Meir Zilbershteyn, Yudl, Yosl and all those I don't remember.

With the hope of seeing you soon.

Ben – David (Moishe Zayfman)

Three Who Did Not Survive

by Yehuda G.

Translated by Janie Respitz

In our step –Motherland Poland, in the birthplace that did not caress them with friendship and comfort, they walked around dreaming of a far away sunny land, from the biblical landscape, where the Moisheles and Shloimeles play freely and their laughter echoes in a lively Hebrew …With all the fibres of there gentle souls they longed for this land yearning with all their strength and…

They did not live to see this.



Elimeylekh was his name but his friend shortened it to either Meylekh or Elik. He was a Hebrew teacher. In the spring and summer months he would stride through the gentile villages where individual Jewish families were scattered, giving lessons to their children. In the winter he could be seen striding through the streets of town wrapped in his coat with

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the collar raised and his head tucked in. It was cold in the street but his heart was warmed by thought of the sunny land he hoped to go to. Meanwhile he strode from one Hebrew lesson to the other and thought: how good will it be when it will be a cold winter in Poland but he will be sitting with his students in the hills of Judea conversing in Hebrew: “What's new Yosele?” “Nothing new”. “It's hot today?” “Yes, very hot”…

He came from a family of Hasidim and mystics from whom he inherited the mixture of joy and sadness, burning exaltation and quiet thoughtfulness when he would forget the surrounding reality and was carried off to an imaginary world…

He was yearning to immigrate with the first group of pioneers in Radom. In all his letters he wrote that he was preparing and waiting for the moment. It is very possible we will see each other in our land very soon…

However his fate was different. He did not live to arrive in the sunny land and converse with his students in sweet Hebrew---



He had a sad face and a dark look of someone who never felt any affection in his childhood. He was orphaned at a very young age. He never knew the caress of a mother. He was raised and educated by a strict grandfather with an angry face. This was an underprivileged childhood that stays with a person his entire life.

When he grew up and wanted to escape his loneliness he found his way to the freedom movement and wanted to run away from the grey and ordinary hiding in the extraordinary garden of poetry. He would sit in the shade of such trees as Shakespeare and Byron, Berdichevsky and many others where he searched for solutions of life's riddles. He also looked for the solutions for human suffering. He believed that redemption of his people would come through the redemption of each individual. Therefore he yearned for Zion and regularly planned how to fulfill his dream.

He was tall and thin with the stamp of his underprivileged childhood on his face. However his soul was restless and heart beat passionately and sensitively. He was an individualist and avoided public appearances. However, in our youth group he opened the window to secular culture. Every conversation with him was interesting and broadened our horizons. The evenings of shared readings are unforgettable. We read secular literature, in particular Jewish national literature. Then we discussed the problems in the Land of Israel.

No, he never immigrated. He did not live to realize this. It is difficult to think about what came later and even harder to write about it---



Because of his naïve, surprised childish face he was called Moishele. It seemed the look in his grey eyes as like a sailor's looking out to the distance at sea…Truth be told, from his early childhood he was attracted to the sea. He certainly had the nature of a sailor, a son of the sea who was driven to dry land where he spent his days longing for the vastness of the far away waters between one continent and another…

After he took one trip over the sea, his longing increased and it became clear to him that his life's calling was: sailing ships to the Jewish land…

Had Moishele lived to see the establishment of the State of Israel he would certainly be one of Israel's proudest captains today who take Jewish ships from Haifa or Eilat to ports all over the world.

“Over the Wide Blue Sea…” was his favourite song. Or: “By the shores of the blue sea lies the land of our hopes”… This is how he taught his students planting in their hearts love and longing for “The blue sea and the land of our hopes”.
Actually he was reserved. When he would talk he would weigh his words and speak so quietly, as if a loud word would suddenly interrupt the eagle – flight of his fantasy. Children love fantasy and he taught them about a new life in their own land.
“It is easy to look into a valley from a high tower”…
That was his motto which he used often.

But he was not fated to see the light tower at the port of Haifa and remained in the valley of sorrow, the valley of Jewish blood and tears, the valley of our sacred remains - - -

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Heroes of Israel

by Leybl Rikhtman

Translated by Janie Respitz


Nekhemiah Bakman

The son of Brokhe and Menakhem – Mendl the ritual slaughterer. Born in Radom in 1918 and immigrated to the Land of Israel in 1926. Studied in a Yeshiva in Jerusalem, later moved to Even – Yehuda where he worked in the orchards. He loved agriculture and because of this worked in various places in the country where he was also able to keep watch.

During the events of 1936 he was slightly wounded. This was at a defence position on the border of Tel –Aviv -Jaffa.

He moved to Zichron – Yaakov where he was suspected of killing an Arab guard from the colony and he stood trial. He was found guilty of unintentional murder and sentenced to two years imprisonment at Atlit.

When the Second World War broke out he was drafted into the British Army where he served in the artillery. Later he joined the Jewish Brigade had helped save Jewish survivors in Europe.

During the War of Independence he defended the area where he lived, a neighbourhood near Ramat – Gan. Later he joined the artillery division of the I.D.F. and participated in battles at Mishmar Hayarden, Emek etc…

He was wounded when they captured Nazareth and died from these wounds three weeks later, on the 28th of Tammuz (August 4th 1948). He was buried at Nachlat Yitzchak.

Nekhemiah Bakman left a wife, two sons and two daughters. His youngest son was born four months after his father's death.


Chaim Ben –David

A grandson of the ritual slaughterer Reb Bunem Tzuker and Reb Khaim Ovadiah's Morgolis. The son of Yitzkhak and Sarah. Born in Jerusalem on the 26th of Adar B, 1924. After finishing elementary school he moved to Yagur where he continued his studies. He was an active member of “Camps for Immigrants”. From his early years he displayed talent in writing. He finished his studies at Givat Hashlosha and joined the group “The Clubs” in Beit Hashita where he developed joint inflammation. This illness hit him hard. He feared he would no longer be able to climb mountains and work in agriculture. However he recovered and returned to the kibbutz and field work.

When he was called up to the Palmach in 1942 he responded immediately. However, knowing what was happening to the Jews in Europe he could not rest. He enlisted as a sailor in the English navy, first serving in the Land of Israel and later in Egypt.

When he completed his service he returned to work. He was attracted to film and joined the film group of Meir Levin which was preparing the film “His Father's House”. He proved to be very talented and the director praised his ideas and plans. However in 1946 he was back in the Palmach completing a course for sailors.

The “Events” began and the murder at the refinery in Haifa shocked Chaim. He returned from the funeral and thought about taking revenge. The Arab village Bald – El Sheik had to pay. He asked and was accepted into the punishment expedition of the Haganah. Besides machine guns and hand grenades he took an ax to break down doors. On the 1st of January they entered the village and fought at every house. Chaim fought bravely until the last minute when he was hit by a bullet in the head. When his friends carried him off the fire field he said: “I am only wounded, continue the battle”. The wound was fatal. He was buried in Yagur.

A short time after Chaim's death, his father, Yitzkhak Ben – Dor also died. He was a soldier in both World Wars.


Zvi Ze'ev Zeira

He was the eldest son of Moshe and Rachel Zeira who emigrated from Radom with the Third Aliya.

He was the grandson of Meir and Adele Banker from the well known family of Hirsh Volf Pomrok. His father was the grandson of our Hasidic master and teacher Reb Shloime Rabinovitch, the author of “Tiferet Shlomo”.

His uncle is Yisroel Zveygenberg who is active in the Association of Jews from Radom in Israel.

Zvi Ze'ev was born in Tel – Aviv on July 23rd 1920. He graduated the elementary school “Balfour” and went to study in Mishmar Haemek. There he displayed an aptitude for mechanics and went to study at the trade school at the Haifa Polytechnic. He graduated in 1947 and returned to his parents in Holon. He completed a military course and prepared for life on kibbutz.

During the War of Independence we went with six other soldiers in an open truck to patrol the road to Jerusalem and they did not return.

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All seven were killed in the murderous village Yazur on January 22nd, 1949.

Zvi Ze'ev was buried the next day in Nechlat – Yitzchak.

The place where the seven were killed is now called “Mishmar Hashiva”. A Jewish Moshav is thriving there.


Motl Minkovsky

He was born in Radom in 1919 to Avrom and Pesl Minkovsky. He studied in Heder and at a Polish elementary school and later learned carpentry. At the age of sixteen he joined “Hechalutz” and spent four years in a Zionist training camp in Grokhov near Warsaw. He served in the Polish army in heavy artillery. During the German occupation he escaped to Russia and worked in the coal mines in Dniepropietrovsk, later in Don and after in Ashkaraula. He volunteered into the army of General Anders and came with them through Persia to the Land of Israel. He continued with the army and fought in Libyan Desert, Tobruk and after chasing the enemy from Tripoli returned to the Land of Israel on furlough. Once there he removed his uniform and put on pioneer clothing. He spent a year on Kibbutz Merchavia and then moved to Migdal where he worked and did guard duty to protect the colony. “In Tobruk I fought in a foreign army” he said, “now I am happy I can protect my own people and my land”.

On March 5th 1948 he was killed by an enemy bullet in his head. He is buried in Migdal.


Shloime (“Salek”) Sallbe (From the Sobol family)

The son of Yitzkhak and Esther, born in Radom on March 25th 1922. He received a Jewish education but since he dreamed about immigrating to the Land of Israel he went to a trade school to learn electric welding. When the Germans entered Poland he escaped to Vilna where he joined the Zionist training camp “Ha Ichud”. When the Germans attacked Russia he was drafted into the Red Army then later was sent to Kuibyshev where he worked in a car factory. After the war he returned to Poland in search of his parents. This is when he learned they were killed in the attack on Radom in August 1942. Then he crossed the border illegally to Prague and arrived in the American Zone in Germany. His relatives in the Land of Israel made great efforts to obtain a visa fro him and on July 3rd, 1947 he flew there from Switzerland.

Salek felt very connected to the Land and worked in construction in Haifa. The work was difficult but he was happy. A year later he volunteered for the Palmach and served in the Fifth Division. He participated in breaching the road to Jerusalem and the Battles of Hulda. He was wounded at the front in Latrun. Salek also took part in conquering the radar station in Beit Guvrin and the battles at Beit – Netufa, the capturing of Castel, in Tzoba, Shaikh Dzhirakh, Katamon, Ramat Rachel near Jerusalem, in the Negev, Rafiya and El – Arish.

However, on June 13th 1949 before he was released from the army and his division was preparing to go leave Eilat and head north he was severely wounded in a road accident. He was brought to Hadassah Hospital where he died after twenty four hours of suffering on June 15th 1949. He had a military funeral and was buried in Nachalat – Yitzchak.


Yitzkhak Smotritch (“Smity”)

He was the son of Yakov and Soreh (from the Ruzhani family from Radom). He was born in Tel – Aviv August 21st 1925. He finished elementary school and then studied at the “Max Fine” trade school to be a lathe operator. He was a member of “Hanoar Haoved”, went to kibbutz was drafted to the Palmach and later to the Palmach navy. He carried out his tasks with bravery and courage: blowing up railroads and bridges, removing refugees (illegal immigrants) from ships, broke into English camps in Kfar Vitkin and finished a training course of team leaders in reconnaissance operations.

He loved sports and music, organized choirs which he accompanied on his harmonica.

“Smity” escorted caravans in the Negev and to Jerusalem. Then he was sent to Kfar Etzion. While in Neve Daniel his group fell into a trap and tried to find their way out. This is when Yitzchak was wounded in his head with splinters in his eyes. He had to give up the fight and return to Tel – Aviv for his eyes to heal, but the enemy had infiltrated the country and Yitzchak could not recover in Tel – Aviv. Against doctor's orders he left for a tank unit and participated in the fight to breach the road to Jerusalem.

As a commander of a reconnaissance division he broke into a police station in Latrun where the fighting was heavy and decisive: No one left there alive. It was November 17th 1949 when his bones and the bones of his friends were brought to Mount Herzl in Jerusalem where they were buried in a common grave.

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Menachem Fridman

The son of Avrom and Khane (Boyman), born in the Land of Israel on October 25th 1926. He was raised in the Borochov Neighbourhood in an atmosphere of a pioneering village. Due to his mother's long lasting illness the family was forced to sell their house and wander from city to city. He was orphaned at age 12. This difficult situation forced him to go to work before he finished elementary school. Looking for a group from “Hanoar Haoved” (the Young Worker) he found his way and the opportunity to continue learning. He went to a training camp in Ein Harod where he worked half a day and studied half a day. At the end of 1945 he joined Kibbutz Revivim in the Negev.

During the War of Independence he fulfilled his obligation working and protecting the kibbutz which was like a deserted island far behind the lines of the Egyptian front.

Menachem Fridman fell in battle capturing Bir – Asludzh on June 1st 1948. He was brought to his eternal rest on that same day in the cemetery at Revivim.


Hillel Fikhtnboym

The son of Dovid and Tova from Radom, born in Jerusalem on August 3rd 1937 where he studied at “Moriah” School. Later, he moved with his parents to Ramat – Gan. He was a good student and a good athlete. He liked light athletics and in a competition of “Hapoel” Ramat – Gan won first prize in running. He participated in a running competition on Israel's Independence Day in a race around Mount Tabor. He also loved to play the violin and collect stamps.

Hillel spent a year in the army and since he loved agriculture, he joined Nachal. He was sent on a leadership course which he did not live to complete. When the Sinai campaign began he was among the first under fire. The fact that his commanders took him out of the course and sent him to the front to fight made him happy and proud.

However cruel fate wanted the 19 year old Hillel, the energetic, good humoured guy with a perpetual smile on his face to die on the first day of the battle.


Menachem Koyfman

Menachem was the son of Leyzer Elye and Leah (Kershberg) from Radom. He was born in Tel – Aviv on July 6th 1939. This is where he finished elementary school, entered 6th class in gymnasia and joined the navy where he completed all exercises and reached the first rank.

In 1946 he joined the Palmach and was active on the refugee ship “Shivtei Lozinski” which was sent to Cypress.

In 1947-48 he completed an intensive sea course and prepared for a career at sea. However he was called upon to breach the road to Jerusalem where he participated in the battles. He was the commander of newly mobilized soldiers who were not yet accustomed to military life. He helped them learn how to be disciplined.

In the Panzer Division in Kiryat Anavim he worked at providing weapons for his soldiers and collecting machine guns for the Panzer trucks. He led with a tank which came to remove the soldiers that were stuck on the road between Dir – Iyub and Sha'ar Hagai where he also helped to remove the wounded.

Menachem participated in a battle on April 23rd 1948 near Nebi Samuel in the first Panzer. When he was severely wounded in his stomach they could not provide first aid. His friends took him out and laid him on a stone and placed a grenade in his hand…

He was brought to his eternal rest in the cemetery in Kiryat Anavim on April 25th, 1948.


Emanuel Kleynman

The son of Pinkhas and Soreh Kleynman who emigrated from Radom 26 years ago. Emanuel was born in Tel – Aviv in November 1936. He studied at the Balfour School and later at the gymnasia at Beit Hashita. He belonged to the youth movement “Camps of Immigrants” where he was loved by his friends.

At 13 he joined the youth group in Yagur. Later he joined the group “Oren” and when the group was mobilized, Emanuel was among the four who were chosen to take care of the movement. This is when military operations began in which paratroopers from his group played an active role.

When he entered “Oren” he actually skipped a grade and was an outstanding student. In his free time he loved to dance. He was chosen as a pantomime dancer in the production of “Toval Kin” by Shaul Tchernikhovsky which his class prepared. He was proud and happy. He was incredibly talented and quickly learned dances others had to practice for months.

For a time Emanuel was an instructor in the colonial “Kadimah” of the “Camps of Immigrants”. When he was called up by the military commission a defect was found

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in his lungs. However, he appealed for a long time until they changed his health status. He was accepted and became the right hand of his commander.

Emanuel completed a leadership course and then became the instructor for this course. Together with his students he went to Sinai where he was killed trying to remove his wounded commander. He was buried temporarily in Shelach and later, brought to his eternal rest in Beit – Hashita.


Yosef (Yoske) Roznboym

The son of Pinkhas and Leah (nee Fuks). He was born in Tel – Aviv on April 19th 1927. He studied at the religious school Bilu and belonged to Betar. During the period of the underground movement against the Bristish Mandate authorities he joined Etzel. He was imprisoned twice in Latrun. Between the two arrests the British espionage had their eye on him and held him in house arrest.

At the beginning of the War of Independence he belonged to Etzel. He was in a machine gun unit which held the front at Ramle. When his hand was wounded he bandaged it by himself and continued to shoot. They took a position in the house of Hasan – Slamah – commander. The enemy used the nearby orchard to approach the house and open fire. The leaders were convinced they could no longer hold this position and decided to retreat. Yoske was among the 12, who thanks to their bravery, the other were able to retreat. But they, the defenders of those retreating, were all killed.

Their bodies were later found tortured and stabbed with spears.

Yoske and his friends were killed on June 1st 1943. They were buried in Nachlat – Yitzchak.

His father Pinkhas was also active in the underground. He was one of the older and most active immigrants from Radom. He died in Tel – Aviv on Shavuot, 1961.


Yitzchak Meir Rotman

He was born in Radom, November 1926 to his parents Hirsh and Yente Rotman. He studied in Heder and the elementary school. His parents and 5 children survived the ghetto and were sent to Treblinka. Yitzchak Meir and his father survived various labour camps experiencing all types of hell until liberation when they, by chance, met in Stuttgart. Relatives wanted to bring them to America but Yitzchak Meir volunteered to the I.D.F. He emigrated in September 1948 and was sent by the Palmach to the Negev. When withdrawing from Iraq – Manashiyya on the 16th of October 1948, he fell in the battle field where he was removing the wounded. He was buried temporarily in Gat and on September 29th 1949 he was brought to his eternal rest in the cemetery in Nachlat – Yitzchak.


Yisrael Shvartzman

A grandson of Reb Yisroel Yitzkhak the ritual slaughterer, the son of Puah Naydik from Radom and the lawyer Pinkhas Shvartzman, the son of the ritual slaughterer from Koretz. He was born in Tel – Aviv December 19th, 1929. The family called him “Sutah” and in school he was called “Shvartzi”. He had rare talents, especially in mathematics, languages, music and chess. As for bible, he could list the generations from the bible from Adam until the destruction of the second Temple and back. People predicted a great future for him. At 17 he finished gymnasia with distinction and went to the Negev to lay water pipes. Later he want to a training camp and worked in the upper Galilee. This is when he joined the Palmach. The exercises took him away from home. He took upon himself large responsibilities and tasks but never wrote home about the dangerous situation he was in. He participated in convoys of night transports and in regular battles from which he returned miraculously.

Yisrael Shvartzman partook in capturing Arab villages, English military camps and the police station in Rosh Pina; and exploding the bridge on the other side of Metula.

The last letter to his parents was written from Metula on May 16th 1948, after he participated in the conquering of Safed. The letter arrived three days after he was no longer among the living. A few days later his parents learned, on May 18th he was sent with his division to help in Emek Hayarden and the next night, he fell in battle over the police station in Tzemach. He was barley eighteen years old. He was brought to his eternal rest in Kinneret, May 21st, 1948. His father Pinkhas, after Yisrael's death, changed his name to Avishar (Yisrael's father). He is now a regional judge in Tel – Aviv.

This section in memory of those who fell in the War of Independence and the Sinai Campaign was collected and edited by Leybl Rikhtman.


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