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[Page 172]

In the Fight for Independence


Those who were and are no longer alive
(The deceased during the events in Israel)

Translated by Mira Eckhaus

Reb Noah Imerman

He was the son of Tema the baker. Everyone knew her and heard Tema's name in Slutsk.

She was a woman of valor, who would support the poor and distribute charity openly and secretly. Her son Noah studied at the Slutsk and Slobodka yeshivas. He later moved to the Hebron yeshiva and excelled as one of the yeshiva students, who was deeply involved in the study of the Torah.

He was murdered in Hebron during the events of 5689 (1929) at the age of 32. He left after his death a wife and three daughters in Jerusalem.


The Baruch Domenitz family


In 1925, Baruch emigrated to Israel with his family from Slutsk. They were from the first members in the “HaChalutz” and the “Zifzif” group in Acre. Later they moved to Rehovot and in 1932 they settled in the village Gibton.

On the 2nd of Adar 5699, the Arabs from the village of Al-Qubayba attacked the village. The house of Baruch Domenitz, that was located at the edge of the village, was marked as a target by the attackers and they murdered with terrible cruelty his wife Mina, the daughter of Reb Yaakov Poliak of Slutsk, 42 ??years old, his son Yerachmiel, 17 years old, a member of the Haganah, Chaim, 10 years old, and Emanuel, 8 years old.

May their memory be blessed.

The only survivors of the whole family were his the daughter Hadassah, who happened to be in Givat Brenner that night, and the father Baruch, who was staying at the “Hadassah” Hospital, after being injured in a car accident.


Avraham Voskoboynik


He was the son of Yitzchak and Ida and Voskoboynik from the Fleischtsik house in Slutsk, who emigrated to Israel in 1925. He was a very handsome and hard-working boy. At the age of 17, he graduated from the high school “Ahad Ha'am” in Petah Tikva. In the riots of 1936, he enlisted to be a guard in the British police force (ghaffir) and in one of the orchards he was murdered by Arab murderers while he was on guard duty.


Nathan Zeldes


He was born in Slutsk in the year 5657. His parents were Fayvel and Haya Zeldes. They were wealthy people (they owned an iron materials shop), well-educated and their sons were educated in the spirit of the tradition as well as the general education. Since he was a child, Nathan dreamed to travel to Eretz Israel and study at Gymnasia Herzliya, and his ambition came true. In 5662, he was accepted as a student at the Gymnasia Herzliya.

His friend Hillel Landsman wrote the following list after he died in the battle for the defense of Jerusalem:

I first met Nathan in Odessa, on his way to Israel, in 1913.

Nathan was familiar with the paths of this coastal city in southern Russia. Back in 1911, he was sent here by his parents from Slutsk, his hometown, to study at the yeshiva of Rabbi Tchernowitz (a young rabbi).

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He became our guide, toured the city with us, led us to the club of Zion lovers, introduced us to the poet C. N. Bialik and he was all fresh and lively, his body was firm, his cheeks were flushed and his eyes were smart and intelligent. In the ten days of our trip by boat, we became closer to each other and together we made a plan to arrange our lives for entering Gymnasia Herzliya.

In Neve Shalom, the Jewish neighborhood that was adjacent to Jaffa, we rented a room and we prepared for the exams, and the more I was in his presence, the more the feeling of respect for him grew. He was full of life wisdom and knew the ways of life and was independent and responsible. All these gave him the impression of a much older man, although he was only two years older than me.

With the outbreak of the First World War and with the joining of Turkey to it, the land and the settlement were in distress and under siege. The settlement was required to enlist in the Turkish army. The Gymnasia was an Ottoman institution, and as such, a large part of its teachers had to recruit to the Turkish army. There was a danger that the Gymnasia would be closed and some of the high school students recruited to the army and were sent to the officers' school in Kushta, Nathan was among them. After ten months of hard and arduous life in a military base, in a foreign land, far away from the Land of Israel - the young officers were sent to the different fronts of the Ottoman Empire, according to the lottery method. Nathan was given the fourth front (Syrian-Land of Israel) under the command of the well-known Djemal Pasha. Others of us were sent to Macedonia or the borders of the Black Sea. And some were jealous of those who went in the direction of Israel.

We met again after the occupation of the country by the English when we returned to school. Nathan returned to continue his studies without any financial support, on his own account. He traveled abroad and finished his studies there as a road engineer. Since then, we parted ways. Each sank into his own corner. In our temporary meetings, a note of dissatisfaction could be heard in Nathan's words. It seemed that he was not in the right place for him. In our conversations about the village and the city, he expressed longing for village life and agriculture.

He told me about all the hardships and struggles in the war of existence in the city during the unemployment period, etc. Even now, just like in our first meeting in Odessa, I saw in Nathan every time I met him, the same knowledge of life and a realistic approach to problems. He was always vibrant, full of energy and a desire to create and build.

I'm sorry that our meetings were rare and short. And I regret his untimely death even more. He died in the defense of Jerusalem at the beginning of the year 1948.


Ezra Sperling


He was killed in the explosion of the “King David” hotel in Jerusalem, on 23rd of Tamuz, 5706, July 22, 1946. He was born in Slutsk in 1889. When he was15 years old, he left to America. He volunteered for the Hebrew Regiment during the First World War. After his release from the army, he started working as a government official. He was an amateur journalist. He wrote and printed his words in America and also in local newspapers, especially in “Palestine Illustrated News”.

He left after his death two sons and two daughters. One of the daughters served in the army during World War II. One son served in the American army and was wounded.

The deceased was a friendly man, with a subtle sense of humor. He was a loyal Jew. He was about to retire from his service due to seniority but the cruel death came earlier.

May he rest in peace!

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Those who died in the War of Liberation
The sons of the Slutsk residents

Translated by Mira Eckhaus


Ethan Meisel


Eitan, the son of Yehuda and Hanna Meisel, was born in Jerusalem in Adar 5691 to a family of laborers from the pioneers of the third Aliya.

At the age of six he entered the public school “Tachkemoni”. Studies were easy for him and he attracted the attention of his friends due to his intelligence and vigilance. When he finished his studies, he joined the youth club of “HaShomer Hatzair” and proceeded to a training at Kibbutz “Shaar Ha'amkim”.

During the two years he spent there, he adapted to the social life and organized a circle of music lovers. He even turned out to have a great sense of humor and at friends' parties he exuded joy and happiness.

He finished his training at “Shaar Ha'amkim” when the war of liberation was already ongoing and together with his fellow trainees he was sent to the aid of Kibbutz “Lehavot HaBashan” on the Syrian border, in the Upper Galilee. There he was wounded in the hand.

Six months later, he moved with his fellow trainees, who formed a group of settlers, to Mishlat Harel in the occupied Arab village of Beit Jiz, which is in the Jerusalem Corridor.

In Emunim, he distinguished himself as a guide and organizer, and after passing a squad commander's course, he held military positions in the Negev Guards. Through his guidance he became beloved on his apprentices who were from the new Aliyah. With his cheerfulness and loyalty to his destiny he captivated people's hearts.

On the 14th day of Elul 5710, during a tour in the Beit Govrin area, a commander's car drove up to a mine, which had been buried by terrorists. Ethan and three of his friends died there.

May his soul be bounded in the bundle of life of the heroes of Israel, who scarified their lives for the homeland.


Biller Ilan


He was the son of Patchia and Nechama. He was born on May 12, 1930 in Tel Aviv.

He studied at a public school, and later on he continued until the sixth grade at the Montefiore Real School. He became known as one of the best athletes in the Aguda of “Brit Maccabim Atid”, among the best swimmers in Israel, a youth backstroke champion, one of the best water polo players, one of the representatives of our country in international swimming competitions, and in one of them he won a trophy. The day after the revelry of Lake Success and the beginning of the war operations in Israel, he enlisted for service and was accepted into one of the Palmach battalions (Yiftach Brigade). As a fellow well-liked by his comrades, he also pushed them to enlist for full service in his battalion. After short training, he went on patrols and scouting operations as a raider and saboteur. He served in escorting convoys between Tiberias and the northern Galilee, in battles in the Galilee, in the mopping up of Arab villages, in the occupation of Ein- Zeitoun and was one of the first two Hebrew soldiers to penetrate the Arab part of Safed in the battles to liberate the city. In the battle of Nebi Yosha, the steel helmet on his head was hit by a bullet and his head was also scratched from the force of the blow. He was transferred with his battalion to the central front, for the “Dani” operation, and participated in the occupation of Lod and Ramallah and the surrounding villages.

On the brink of the second truce, he was with his company in Kfar al-Borj, on the road Latrun-Ramallah and participated in the effort to cut off Latrun for its conquest. And here there was a counterattack by the Arabs with five times more forces and with armored people. Being a second machine gunner, he hid and when he saw the threatening enemy movement, he shot constant fire on the armored vehicles. When his comrades warned him of the danger in his action of revealing their location and drawing the enemy's fire towards them while they have no barrier against it, he said: “It is fine, the main thing is that the armored vehicles will be stopped”. He achieved this goal, but he was hit by the enemy's fire in his spine and refrained from crying out in pain when he was transferred to the gathering point, so as not to weaken the spirit of his comrades. Only once did he ask why he wasn't being evacuated, and when it was explained to him that the ambulance could no longer arrive because of the enemy's fire, he did not talk about it anymore, he restrained his suffering and joked that after being wounded he would finally get a vacation. He died of internal bleeding on July 16, 1948. He was buried in Nachalat Yitzhak on July 18, 1948.


Baskin (Beit Zvi) Zvi


He was the son of Shabtai and Karina, he was born on January 8, 1930 in Stalingrad in the Soviet Union, the place his father was exiled to because of his Zionist activities. About a year and a half after Zvi's birth, the family settled in Nikopol, Ukraine, where Zvi's father got a job in a factory. Zvi's parents aspired to emigrate to Israel, but had to hide this aspiration even from their children. Only later did they reveal the secret to their only son, Zvi. In 1941, the Baskin family fled from the Nazi invaders to the North Caucasus. There Zvi continued his studies at school. On February 20, 1942, he disappeared. It turned out that under the influence of the stories about the heroism of the children, the 12-year-old boy decided to go to war against Hitler's armies. Only a few days later he was found at one of the train stations near the front and was returned to his home. With the advance of the Germans,

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the family abandoned its temporarily place of living in the North Caucasus and migrated to Armenia. There, the family went through a period of famine and serious illness. In the city of Yerban, Zvi finished his studies at the public school and entered a high technical school in 1945, but in October of that year his parents decided to emigrate to Israel. After many upheavals, the family arrived at the Jewish camp in Landsberg, Germany. Zvi studied at the camp electrical engineering and joined the United Pioneer Youth Organization (Naham). In July 1947, he emigrated to Israel with his parents and lived for several months with his mother and sisters in Kibbutz Ein HaShofet. He expressed his desire to learn seamanship while he was still in Germany. His parents promised to help him with this. However, he did not accomplish this desire.

The war of liberation broke out. Zvi worked for a while as a simple laborer in “Solel Bone”, then he volunteered to escort convoys in the Galilee. After his friends from Naham arrived in Israel, he moved with them to “Dorot” in the Negev. In May 1948, he enlisted in the IDF Transportation Corps. He was sent to a drivers' unit in Tel Aviv. From there he volunteered for the Armored Corps and participated in the battles on Beit Naballah, Lod and Irak al Manshiya. He was hit several times; However, he remained in his unit.

He died in the battle of Be'er Sheva on the 18th of Tishrei (October 21, 1948). He was buried in Mishmar HaNegev and on October 21, 1949, he was transferred to the cemetery in Nachalat Yitzhak.


Madutsky Yaakov (“Yankale”)


He was the son of Israel and Dvorah. He was born on the 13th of Shevat 5690 (February 11, 1930) in Tel Aviv. From the age of 12 he lived in the Meged neighborhood in Pardes Hanna. After graduating from the agricultural school in Pardes Hanna, he moved to Ein Shemer and learned there welding. Upon his return, he worked with his father in the installation of water pipes. In his spare time, he prepared for the entrance exams to the Technion. He was one of the best athletes in swimming (he was an instructor and a lifeguard, he was qualified to teach swimming at the Pardes Hanna pool, and according to the regulations, the certificate was delayed until he reached the age of 18 and it was sent to him after he died in the war). He also excelled in football (he was the head of a team) and in high jump and received awards and certificates of excellence. At the age of 14, he was sent to a squad commander course of the Gadna, and later he served as a guide at the Gadna in Ein Shemer of immigrants and local youth in Pardes Hanna.

On November 25, 1947, before the partition decision, he received permission to transfer to the recruitment at the Palmach. He served as a guard in Beit HaArava, Kalia and Sodom. He finished a squad commanders' course. He participated in the operations of the “Breaking Battalion” in the opening of the road to Jerusalem, in the occupation of Katamon and Mount Zion, and was among the first who broke into the Old City. He encouraged the wounded and devoted himself to alleviating their suffering. In the second attack on the radar station, he was the first who broke into the building and there he died on June 1, 1948. He was buried in Mount Herzl in Jerusalem on November 17, 1948.


Simbol Yosef


He was the son of Shlomo and Yehudith. He was born on the 21st of Shevat 5681 (1931) in Tel Aviv. Immediately after that, the family moved to settle in Ein Ganim near Petah Tikva. He studied at Pika school and Ahad Ha'am high school in Petah Tikva and later at the District School in Givat HaShlosha. From his childhood he helped his parents with the farm works. At the age of 15, he joined the “HaNoar HaOved” (Working Youth) and stood out as an instructor, and in “HaPoel” he excelled in gymnastics, games, light and heavy athletics and was a coach for games. He was liked by the members and alert for the urgent and important duties and from a young age he participated in the war for organized Hebrew labor. He was among the first to join the “Hapoel” companies and served as an instructor for useful sports. At the same time, he also joined HaHaganah and was sent to work in the establishment of the barbed wire fence on the northern border during the Arab riots.

In 1942, he enlisted in the Palmach, and this service was more important to him than enlisting in the British army, as he foresaw the necessity to fight for the liberation of the homeland. He contributed his part bravely in bringing to Israel illegal immigrants and in underground operations against the British, which was in his opinion, the main national front. In the British siege on Rishpon, he also fought with 5 soldiers who were guarding the chain of siege and burst out to help the besieged. In 1945, he was released from the Palmach, began working at the Electric Company in Petah Tikva and continued to work in youth guidance. On his 25th birthday, he married his girlfriend, Malka.

When the Arab attack began after the declaration of Lake Success, he immediately returned to service in the Palmach, without considering the release that his parents had obtained for him, being their only son, and his wife being pregnant. He participated in the patrols and in operations against rioters and with his machine gun he shot down a lot of enemies, but in an operation against one of the villages, when Arab women entered the surrounded house, which Yoske was firing on, he directed the shots to the height of the roof so that the women wouldn't get hurt. Later, he was assigned the role of intelligence in the department, and just as his comrades in the Palmach filled with dedication the lack of equipment and weapons, so he filled the lack of means to fulfill his role and he completed it with great success. He was later on promoted to the position of deputy regimental intelligence officer. Considering his family circumstances, his commanders and friends tried to keep him away from extremely dangerous military missions. Although his service was very important to the war effort, he could not accept service on the “home front”, and he was not pleased until he was allowed to participate in the break-in operation of the road to Jerusalem.

His friends told wonderful stories about his coolness and devotion and his quickness in handling the machine gun, when he would wait until the enemy approached a safe range (even though it was more dangerous for him), then he would achieve a maximum output with a minimum of bullets. He stayed away from command positions, but his very presence instilled confidence in his friends. From Huldah to the strait of the valley

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beyond Shaar HaGai, he worked wonders with his machine gun and in capturing posts to ensure safe passage. There, in the narrow valley, when the enemy cut off part of the convoy, he stopped it with his machine gun, allowing the wounded and dead to be collected and preventing the enemy from pursuing the main part of the convoy, which managed to cross the small bridge before it exploded, but he himself was killed in this battle on April 20, 1948. He was buried in Kiryat Anavim on April 22, 1948. His daughter was born after he was killed.


Kotzer Arieh


He was the son of David and Ruth. He was born in 1924 in Slutsk, White Russia. In 1932, he emigrated to Israel with his family which settled in Tel Aviv. He graduated a public primary school and a high school. He learned the profession of turnery and worked at it. From his youth he devoted himself to “HaHaganah” organization. As a youth movement trainee, he joined the Gadna, started in the liaison service, completed courses and promoted to the rank of a squad commander, and later on to a platoon commander. It soon turned out that he was born to serve as a commander. He was brave, directed his action according to the purpose of the operation and he was capable of instilling with simple and short words the feeling of duty in the heart of his subordinated. He later transferred to Hish (Haganah corps), and there he continued training and commanding with great dedication. The day after the decision in Lake Success he enlisted to the defense system of Tel Aviv and at the beginning of March 1948, he took command of a company of one battalion in the “Givati” brigade, which was then stationed in the besieged Ben Shemen. In the middle of that month, the company was sent to “Camp Yona” in Tel Aviv and he was involved in its training. At the same time, he would go out with the company's divisions for mining and sabotage operations in the area, without the knowledge and without the consent of the battalion commander. In April, he was attached with his company to the headquarters of “Nachshon” operation, and he did very well as a commander in the defense of the large convoy of 250 freight cars full of supplies to Jerusalem, when he managed to transfer it safely, despite Arab attacks and British “order enforcement”.

When 4 of his comrades were killed near Tel-a-Rish, he entered with some of his subordinated into enemy territory and removed the dead bodies. In “Barak” operation his company captured the villages of Sheyat Batani, Sharki and Barka in a few days and he was very stricter in preventing his people from looting. He moved to Ramallah - Latrun Road and captured the villages of Abu Shusha and Al Kubab, and when the great Egyptian invasion began, he operated with his company against it.

In the battles near Ashdod, he worked and worked his men beyond the limits of human ability. Fatigued to death, falling and getting up and passing over dead bodies while the enemy keeps shooting continuously, they stood with supreme bravery against the enemy's armor and their many soldiers, and the resistance of Arieh and his men in this battle played a very significant role in stopping the enemy's march towards Rehovot and Tel Aviv. It was the decisive delay, which made it possible to prepare the counterattack. Again, he stood with his reduced company in front of the Egyptians advancing to Nitzanim pass. At the beginning of the truce, he was transferred to the battalion headquarters, and from the start of the planning of Operation An-Far (anti Faruk), he returned to the front line. On his way to help the jeep company “Shualey Shimshon” (Samson's Foxes), he was killed near Beit Afa on July 16, 1948.

He was buried in the cemetery in Kfar Warburg on December 29, 1948.

In the order of the General Staff of September 29, 1949, he was awarded the rank of captain.


Kersik Yaakov


He was born in Nahalal; He was the third son of Michael and Nechama Kersik (from the Fleischtsik family in Slutsk). From his childhood, he was an independent child, and when his mother was busy every day with the morning wakening in the chicken coop and in the dairy barn, he would get down from his bed, slice himself two thick slices of bread, spread jam and leave the house for the field. All searches after him were to no avail.

He would only return in a late hour. Over time they realized that he was a man of the field and got used to his escapes. He walked around the fields and knew all the types of grass, and when he was hungry, he ate edible grass. At the age of eight, his mother died during the birth of his twins' sisters. His father was left with five children, he married a wife and Yaakov was very unhappy. His suffering was great and he tried to stay away from home. Nevertheless, he developed nicely. From his childhood, he was active in “HaHaganah” and at the age of eighteen he got married. After his father died, he dedicated himself to farming and was successful, until the Sinai War came. He left his wife and his two young daughters. He enlisted as a scout and was among the first who were killed. He was only 25 years old in his death.


Rivin Yechiel


Yechiel was born on the 23rd of Elul 5685 (September 12, 1925) in Tel Aviv. When he was only one month old, he moved with his parents for the occupation of labor in the Arab Acre. Hie parents' goal was to settle down in the Zvulun Valley. But for the sake of financial support until the settlement is realized, the candidates founded the “Zipzif” group, which was the foundation of a Jewish settlement in Arab Acre.

The occupation of labor and the competition with the Arabs for years, the move to Herzliya and the constant struggle with the lack of work, the bloody

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events of 1929, 1936, the constant aspiration to hold on to the right of agricultural settlements on the land of the nation and to maintain a social life without exploiting others - these were the conditions and the atmosphere in which Yechiel grew up and was educated. From his childhood, he absorbed the love of manual labor, and especially for agriculture, the appreciation of the working man and the admiration of the Hebrew protector. How happy was the eleven-year-old boy, when he participated in the preparations for the settlement in Moshav Rishpon and with what affection and dedication he took care of the animals and plants. It once happened that he was late for the bus after he finished his studies at the school in Herzliya and he had to move seedlings from the nursery, which he built by himself, to the new settlement. He was sad about the soft seedlings, and having no other connection with the point, he gathered the seedlings into the basket, put it on his shoulders and walked about ten kilometers on foot along a rough road that was full of murderous enmity (this was during the events of 5696). The events of 1936 started. The young moshav, which had only a small number of inhabitants, served as a target for the enemy's attacks every night. The members did not know what a quiet sleep was and the child helped as much as he could, to the protectors - in guarding and to his parents - in the farm work.

He finished his studies in Herzliya public school and in the continuation classes, and then he continued his studies at the district agricultural school in Givat Hasholsha. During this period, he joined “HaNoar HaOved” (the working youth), because this organization was non-partisan and he did not support any party or any certain political view, until he grew up enough and understood the matter deeply. At the same time, he was also attached to the Palmach; He had already belonged to the ranks of HaHaganah organization before that. In 1942, when the Nazi enemy approached the Egyptian border, he enlisted in the British army, and he was only sixteen and a half years old at the time. When they asked him to postpone his enlistment until the following year, he replied: “How can one sit and study while European Jewry is being destroyed and the enemy is after our walls? And if my father is already prevented from going to war now, because of his age and the family situation, then this duty falls on me”. He was attached to the water supply battalion where he served throughout the war in the Western Desert. This battalion performed hard tasks in the brutal conditions of the desert. Yechiel fulfilled his service with devotion. He was loved and respected by his friends. He maintained connections with his friends in Israel and abroad.

When he was released, he aspired to a life of productive work. And indeed, he found a cooperative work in the paving stone industry. However, he left his job for fear that a trace of exploiting others would stick to him. He went looking for another job and did not reluctant from any arduous work. He was attached to his family with all his heart and helped his parents in their farm and in the building of their house.

When the war of liberation broke out, he once again showed up to fulfill his duty in the fateful struggle for redemption. During his service in the Defense Forces, he was one of the first to join the Artillery Corps at the beginning of its organization and was one of its first drivers. Day and night he drove in his car to all the fronts in the valley and the Galilee, on impassable roads, until he was wounded very seriously near the village of Zarin, when his car stepped on a mine on the 20th of Iyar, 5708, and on the 23rd of Iyar (June 1, 1948) he died in the hospital in the valley. His young life was sacrificed on the altar of the liberation of the people and the homeland, and his name will forever be preserved among the heroes of Israel, who sacrificed their lives for the redemption of the people and the land.

He was a native of the country, but it seems that none of the flaws that are instilled in the “Tzabar” (native Israeli), stick to him. He listened with appreciation and admiration to the words of the great and old and absorbed into him the devotion to the nation and its sanctities. It was therefore natural when one day he disappeared from his father's house and enlisted in the British army while he was still a young boy. And even then, he knew how to justify this step: “I will not fight for the English, but for European Jewry, which is bleeding”.

The world war ended, and he returned refined and pure, full of passion and a deep recognition of his purpose and duty only a short time before the establishment of the state throughout fights and sacrifices.

And in the battle for Jenin, he was killed. He was only 23 years old in his death.

(The lists of the fallen were collected from the Book of “Yizkor”)

Those who were killed in Israel
The sons of the Slutsk residents

Translated by Mira Eckhaus


Zev Gluskin

He served as “Redemption” manager from 1924. He was one of the best activists in Zionism and one of its elders, both operationally and spiritually, in several institutions. He was born on the 9th of Elul 5619, in Slutsk. He was the son of Eliezer (merchant in Königsberg, from a family of rabbis). He was educated in the cheder and in high school. In the years 1882-1896, he served as the director of a high school in Warsaw.

In 1882, he was one of the first Hovevei Zion in Warsaw and one of its activists. In 1890, he was one of the founders of the Beit Midrash in Warsaw, he was a member of “Menucha Venachala” in Rehovot. In 1893, he was one of the founders of “Achiasaf” and one of its directors. On 1896, he was one of the founders of “Carmel” in Russia (in 1899 in the USA, in 1902 in Israel under the name of “Carmel Mizrahi”) and one of its director. In 1903, he was one of the founders of “Ha'Tzofeh”. In 1904, he was one of the founders of “Geula”. From 1906, he lived in Israel (he visited Israel in 1900 in the affairs of Rehovot, in 1903, on a mission of Hovevei Zion, with Ussishkin, Ettinger and Droyanov, and for the opening of “Carmel Mizrahi”). In the years 1906-1922, he served as the director of the wineries in Rishon Lezion and Zichron Yaakov. He participated in several local and cultural enterprises. During the first World War in Egypt, he served as the Vice-Chairman of the aid committee for the exiles of the land of Israel and was very active in it.

He donated and founded a library at the municipal school in Tel Aviv on the name of his wife, Vela, and also donated his home to the municipal library “Shaarei Zion” in Tel Aviv.

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Y. L. Garzovsky


Yehuda Leib Garzovsky was born in Slutsk on the 1st of Nisan, 5656 (1896), to his father Yitzhak Hillel, a Hebrew teacher and melamed, educated and Hovev Zion, uncle of the linguist writer Yehuda Gur-Grazovsky, and his mother Tehila. He studied in cheders and yeshivas in Slutsk and Slobodka.

In 1910, he moved to Vilna and studied general education and the profession of optics.

He was an enthusiastic Hovev Zion and from a young age he was in “Tze'irei Zion” (Zion youth). In 1925, he emigrated to Israel and founded the first professional optical business in Tel Aviv. He was an activist in various associations. He was also a member of Bnei Brit and one of the founders of “Yitzhak Yelin” Chamber.

He passed away in Tel-Aviv, on the 3rd of Tamuz, 5718, 21.6.58.


Michael Polyak

5624 (1864; Slutsk) – 5714 (1954; Haifa). He visited in Israel on 1908, 1914, 1920 and from 1922, he lived permanently in Israel. He was an industrialist, a pioneer of the largest industry in Israel. From his youth he lived in Nizhny Novgorod (now Gorky). He completed his studies (mathematics) at Petersburg University. Since then, he was involved in the business. He was one of the pioneers of oil plants in Russia (Baku). From 1898, he was a partner of the Rothschild family in the “Mazut” company. After emigrating from Russia after the revolution, he learned that he owned shares worth 2 million Pound in the Shel company, to which the Rothschild family had sold its oil wells in Baku even before the revolution. Since then, he has directed his energy and money to the Land of Israel and founded the great cement factory, “Nesher” in Yagur, near Haifa. In 1946, he sold the factory to the “Solel Bone” company. He secretly donated large sums to charitable and educational institutions in Israel.


Yitzhak Elyashiv

El-Yashiv Yitzhak ben Meir. His mother was known in the city as Tila Elyashiv, owner of a merchandise shop.

He was born at the end of 5631 (1871) in Slutsk. He left the city at a young age.

In Warsaw, he was a member of the association “Hovevei Zion”, the director of the Achiasaf publishing house (1901-03), the publisher of the “HaTzofe” newspaper (1903-05).

He was the founder and chairman of the association “Lovers of the past language” in Lodz. He also served as the Vice Chairman of “HaZamir” Company.

He was the Lodzer writer “Tag Blat” at the congresses in Hamburg and in Vienna.

In Moscow: he was a member of the Zionist Committee, a member of the “Tarbut” Committee, a member of the Center of Russian Zionists.

He participated in congresses in Basel, The Hague, Hamburg, and Vienna.

In 1931, he received a permit to leave Russia.

He passed away in Tel Aviv in 1954, on the 1st of Iyar.


Eliezer Zeldas

He was born in Slutsk (1874) and was among the first Hebrew teachers there.

He emigrated to Israel in 5668 (1908). His first job was in Gaza, in which, at that time, there were only few Jews, around 12-13 families. He stayed in Gaza for two years and from there he moved to Har-Tov to Mr. Goldberg's farm. He taught at a school for Bulgarian Jews and stayed there for two years.

Afterwards, he moved to Castinya and stayed there the entire period of the First World War.

At the beginning of 1921, he moved to Beer Ya'akov and that was his last place of work.

Later on he retired and lived in Tel Aviv and Ramat Gan.

He was involved in literature from time to time and these are the pamphlets he printed:



Historical library: the ancient Arabs, 5683; India, 5683; Ancient Egypt, 5684; Assyria and Babylon, 5684; Persia and Medes, 5684; From the ancient Egyptian literature, 5684; Canaan, 5690; The days of Zerubbabel and Nehemiah, 5690; From the Babylonian literature: published by “La'am”, 5690; The culture in the Land of Israel, according to Prof. McCallister (5673); “Practical history A, B, C, (5695, 5696)

He wrote various articles in the “Haaretz” newspaper, criticisms of history books and sometimes signed under the name “Eliezer”. He was 80 years old when he passed away in the year 5714.

[Page 179]

Reb Aharon Ratner


He was born in 1878, in the village of Dobi near Slutsk. He married the daughter of Reb Shimon Kotzer, a salted fish merchant.

A short time later, Reb Aharon became famous as a retail merchant and a wholesaler of butter and all kinds of cheeses, which were sent all over Russia and abroad. He was a Zionist with all his heart and soul. He raised his sons and daughter in the spirit of dedication and Zionism. His eldest son Israel was banned and deported to Israel in 1924. After his property was confiscated by the Soviet government, he finally managed to emigrate to Israel with his family members in 1925 and settled in Tel Aviv. He started his business all over again and opened a grocery store.

But in his old age, he was drawn to village life. He moved to Hefer valley and settled in “Havatzelet HaSharon”, and took care of a small farm and a small orchard. He lived there for twenty years.

He passed away in Tel Aviv, at the age of 77, in 5715, 1955.


Reb Chaim Ratner
He was the father of Reb Aharon Ratner. He passed away at the age of 80


Sara Zlata Kotzer
She passed away at the age of 83
in Tel Aviv in the year 1936
David Kotzer
He passed away at the age of 70
in Tel Aviv in the year 1955
Reb Shimon Kotzer
He passed away at the age of 84
in Tel Aviv in the year 1935

[Page 180]

The Rebbetzin Beyla Hinda Meltzer

The Rebbetzin Beyla Hinda Meltzer was the daughter of Reb Fabel Frank. He was a wise scholar, a merchant and of the dignitaries of Kovno. She was born in 1873.

Even in her youth she was famous for being versed in the Bible. While she lived in Kovno she had a leather shop. When she moved to Slutsk, she took over the management of the yeshiva's physical affairs.

She used to say: In one verse I sin by changing the word leather in the word light, “a leather for light” and a person should give everything they have for their soul. She meant that she replaced selling leather with the light of the Torah and she was ready to devote her whole soul to it.

She was particularly famous for her constant work of copying the innovations of her husband to the Torah in her clean and orderly handwriting and preparing them for printing. All seven volumes of “Even Haezel”, which were published during the lifetime of her husband (the late Reb Isser Zalman Meltzer) were written in her handwriting. She would point out to her husband about mistakes and things that could be corrected.

She passed away in Jerusalem at the age of 86, in the year 5719.


Malka Ila
The sister of Zeev Gluskin, she emigrated to Israel in 1925. She passed away at the age of 88
Reuven Gross
Passed away at the age of 60 in Tel Aviv, in the year 5719
Aharon Baruch Becker
He was born in 1883. He was from the second Aliya. He passed away in Tel Aviv, in the year 1934


From the pioneer movement


Avraham Yitzhak Nozik


He was born on 1899 in Slutsk, to an Orthodox family. His father was a Torah scribe, who also processed parchment into Torah scrolls.

However, this did not prevent him from being an enlightened Jew who tended to general education. He also educated his children in this spirit, blending Torah studies and general education together. Avraham attended first the cheder and then spent sometime in the yeshiva. Along with this, he also received a general education and entered the high school of commerce.

His family house served - with the complete sympathy and support of the parents - as the committee house for every public action in the city, in which the family members and Avraham among them, participated. With the awakening of the Zionist movement at the end of the First World War, he was an activist in “Tze'irei Zion” and to every act, in which he participated, he added enthusiasm, joy and jokes, as such was his characteristic.

He emigrated to the Land of Israel with the great wave of the third Aliya. First, he was wondering on the road, he was active everywhere and carried any burden. In 1921, he came to Israel with a group of members and joined the work battalion, the Rosh Haayin company. With the organization of the jeep battalion, he was one of the first volunteers. From there he moved straight to Tel Yosef.

In the first months he worked in draining swamps and was engaged in agriculture. From there he moved to carpentry, where he worked until his last day.

When his terrible disease was discovered, a tumor

[Page 181]

in the brain, there was no option but to send him to Vienna for a surgery, which was considered as one of the most dangerous surgeries.

After the surgery, his condition improved considerably, and he returned to Israel. He continued his life, but from time to time, signs of the disease appeared again and he began X-rays and radium therapy.

And again, his condition worsened and he travelled to Jerusalem for treatment. His condition seemed to have improved and he prepared to return to his home. And suddenly, the final disaster came.


Mosia Katznelson – Harkavi


Mosia Katznelson was the daughter of Reb Yosef Harkavi. She was born in 1902, in Slutsk. Her father, from the well-known Harkavi family in Russia, was a merchant for the export of cheese and butter. He was a businessman and a Torah scholar.

From her childhood, Mosia was educated in the national spirit and joined the “HeChalutz” and “Tze'iri Zion” movements. She was a member of the community committee in Slutsk, active in the movement and participated in the “Tze'iri Zion” assembly in Minsk. During the occupation of White Russia by the Poles, she was sentenced to death on charges of her activities and the discovery of hiding a gun that belonged to the “Haganah”. She was saved from death under the influence of the late Reb Isser Zalman Meltzer.

In 1921, she emigrated to Israel and worked on the pavement of roads. She initiated the establishment of cooperative dairies.

She passed away in Tel-Aviv, on 24th of Tevet, 5688.


Yocheved Hinich Agranov

Yocheved Hinich Agranov was born in Starovin (in White Russia) in the year 5662 (1902). In her youth, she joined the Zionist movement and “HeChalutz”, and in 1923 she went to Tel-Hai which was in Crimea, with two loyal members. She was of the first who were trained in this training point. She devoted herself with all her heart to work and society. She was loved and accepted on all the members.

She was among the opponents of, at that time, the well-known decision of the majority of the members of the “HeChalutz” Center, to turn also the “HeChalutz” farms into a collective conceptual training. With the split in the “HeChalutz” in Russia, she moved to “Mishmar”, a training point in the Crimea that she was one of its founders, and from there, she emigrated to Israel in 5686 (1926).

She was a short time in Acre, where occupation groups of members of Hapoel Hatzair were concentrated, especially among the Russian immigrants whose goal was to settle in the Acre valley. From Acre she moved to Rehovot and worked there as an agricultural laborer until she and her boyfriend (may he live long life), Gershon Agranov (who was also one of the pioneers of Russia and one of the founders of “Mishmar”), moved to the settlement in Gibton (auxiliary farms). But her desired goal was full settlement, and she achieved this only by moving to the village of Warburg - in the early years of its establishment. They settled in the place and hit deep roots in it with hard work, despite her frail health, and reached a well-developed farm.

She raised her two sons with her spirit. One of them, the eldest, was seriously injured in the War of Liberation and the other is currently in the IDF; Both are involved in the work in the Moshav - the eldest has an independent farm and the youngest in his parents' farm. She did not get to enjoy the fruits of her hard work for a long time.

May her memory be blessed among the conquerors and builders of the Hebrew village in the homeland.


Misha Efrat


Misha was born in Slutsk, to a wealthy and honorable family. He grew up and was educated on the spirit of Zionism. He was inspired of it since his early childhood. It served as a beacon for him, that illuminated his path in life, he attached to it forcefully and found in it solutions for his troubled and trident soul.

He received a Hebrew education in his childhood. His first school was the reformed cheder. There, the foundations for his path in Zionism, in the Hebrew language and to the Land of Israel, were laid.

The days after the Russian Revolution were prosperity days for the Zionist movement. In these days, a group of children was organized, who founded a Zionist Children's Histadrut called “Pirchei Zion”. The head of this Histadrut was Misha. He was the living spirit of it, the permanent chairman. He was vigilant and active, calling assemblies, developing different activities and building this Histadrut as the format of the Histadrut for adults.

The boy turned into a young man. He studied at the Russian trade school and at the same time continued his studies in Hebrew.

During this period in his life, the reconstruction of the Bolshevik Russian state began. Persecutions against Zionism began and the movement went underground. An apolitical Zionist youth organization called “Kadima” was founded. Misha was among its organizers and its founders. Its action was making waves among the Jewish youth and it was expanding and prospering.

Misha moved to Moscow. In the capital city he was familiarized with the busy and intense life. He found his way in a youth organization called

[Page 182]

A.S.Y.P. (Yidisher Socialistishar Yugent Perain), was in touch with the members of “Kadima” in Slutsk, and made every effort to join Kadima to the A.S.Y.P. and succeeded in it.

He emigrates to Israel and immediately joins the kibbutz and the party (Achdut Ha'Avoda, before it was united with “Hapoel HaTzair”). He never ceased to take care of the members who stayed in Russia and were thrown into prisons, or deported to the far north. He demaned help for the movement. When a group was organized in the kibbutz (which was then named “Kibbutz Ein Harod”) that was given time off to work in the city, in order to earn money and send it to the movement, he was one of the first in this group.

When the group dispersed, he returned to his farm in Yagur. In the kibbutz he was vigilant, he was involved in the social life, he was sensitive to any injustice and opposed against any discrimination; His heart was open to the suffering and distress of the individual; His treatment of people was just, impartial; He had a good and realistic intuition.

He loved his farm and was attached to it, but at the same time he complaint all kinds of shortcomings he noticed. He was gentle, cordial, and polite, and a look of sadness spread across his melancholic face. Out of love for the truth he could not hold back and sometimes he would lash out against some injustice caused to one of the members.

His life was not easy and his death was also difficult.


Yehuda Mas


Yehuda Mass was an exemplary husband and father, kind to people and did not know what anger was. A man who was both educated and simple in his relations with others. He filled his roles quietly and without any arrogance.

He was born in Slutsk, in August 1906. He was from the family of the well-known preacher Reb Zvi Hirsch of Slianski, who was among the Hovevei Zion. He was the third generation of a family of farmers.

He emigrated to Israel in 1926 and was one of the founders of “Afikim”. He went through all the difficulties of the establishment of the kibbutz and its managing in its early days, and he accompanied its development until his last day.

During the events of 5696, he was among the defenders of Hanita. He fell ill and had to go to work in the bookkeeping of the farm. He took on himself many duties after his working hours, mainly in sending a “soldier gift” to members of Kibbutz Afikim, who served in the army.

The news that reached him from his family in Russia was extremely unfortunate. During the reign of collectivization, his parents' farm was destroyed and they were forced to leave their city of residence and flee to the Urals. In the days of the hard persecution during Stalin's time, his brother and brother-in-law disappeared. According to an official announcement, they were sentenced to ten years in prison, but at the end of their prison term they did not return.

This news had a negative effect on him, and his body, which was already weak, weakened even more, until he fell ill and didn't recover.

In his last days, he continued to talk about the many jobs waiting for him, but the cruel fate did not fulfill his wish and he passed away, being 54 years old.


Eliezer Rivin


He was born at the end of the Second World War, on Av 5699 (21.7.1939).

He attended the kindergarten and then the elementary school. The first crisis in his life was the death of his older brother Yechiel, who was the ideal character to him, and he became more serious and closed.

When he finished the elementary school, he started having doubts. He didn't know exactly how to continue, whether he should study a profession or continue to high school. He chose the second option. He studied at the high school in Herzliya and was an excellent student in almost all subjects, especially in the real subjects. He had his own opinion and when he received an answer from a teacher that did not agree with his opinion, he did not hesitate to point it out to the teacher and express his opinion.

After two years of studies, he reached a turning point and he decided to go to the kibbutz, where he saw his path in life. In order to be ready for a life of agriculture, he moved to a school in HaKfar HaYarok, where he received the guidance of the working youth branch in Ramat Hasharon. He devoted to guidance with his whole heart and soul. He invested in it all his energy, initiative and time and really succeeded in establishing a large and cohesive branch that was the glory of Ramat Hasharon. His apprentices respected and admired him and saw him as an ideal guide, but due to this guidance he neglected his studies. His teachers did not agree that he would divide his time between studies and guidance. So, he decided to abandon his studies, but not its society, and he remained within it until his last day. This group established the settlement of Yotvata, the youngest settlement.

He was a handsome young man with blue eyes and a curly forelock. He was loved by everyone and was pleasant and devoted to his friends. When one of his friends was wounded in the army and later died of his wounds, he came to the grieving family of the deceased and offered them his help in place of the son who had died.

May he be of blessed memory!


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