Prisoners of Zion. 1945, page 1.

Abraham Arenstein

Born in 1906 in the city of Gorzhed, Lithuania, he joined the Beitar movement and excelled in the collection of money for the Zionist funds “Keren Kaemet” and “Keren Tel-Khay”. Arrested in 1945 on charges of Zionist activity, including the collection of money for Zionist funds, he was sentenced to 10 years in the Gulag. His sentence was spent in many of the labor camps of Siberia. Released in 1955, he finally completed the process of getting a visa to go to Israel in 1966. Died in 1994.

Sheina Arenstein

Born in 1918 in Lithuania, she was an active member of “Beitar” in the city of Gorzhed and after the beginning of Soviet occupation participated in the organization of illegal transportation to Israel from Lithuania - “Ha’Brikha”. Arrested in 1945 for her Zionist activities and for attempting to leave the Soviet Union illegally by air, she was sentenced to 8 years in the Gulag plus 3 years of exile. She served her sentence in several maximum security camps in Siberia. Released in 1956, she finally obtained a visa to get to Israel in 1966. She died in 1986.

Braha Efroni

Born on 04.05.1921 in Riga, Latvia, she became an activist in the Zionist organization “Beitar” from an early age until the Soviet occupation. During the WWII she lived in Moscow. In 1944 at a Jewish party she wished everybody “next year in Jerusalem” but was arrested in 1945, and sentenced, by the military tribunal in Yaroslavl, to 10 years in the Gulag plus a lifetime’s exile after the end of her prison sentence. Her sentence was served in the camps of Norilsk and Chelyabinsk. Released in Norilsk at the end 1954 and remaining there in exile for 2 more years, she finally got to Israel via Poland in 1959.

Shmuel Fish

Born in 1913 in the town of Stanislaus, Poland, he became a member of “Hashomer Hatzair” in his city at an early age. In 1945 he was arrested in Chelyabinsk, charged with Zionist activity among Jews and sentenced to 12 years in Gulag plus exile in Vorkuta. Released in 1957 he was able to reach his historic motherland, Israel, in 1958. He died in 1983.

Elka Fuks

Born in 1924. in Kovale, Poland, she joined a group of partisans during WWII. In 1944 she moved to Chernovtsy and organized the training of Jews for fleeing from the Soviet Union, in order to reach the destination point: Palestine - Eretz Israel. Arrested and sentenced to 3 years in Gulag in1945, she served 1.5 years, was released in 1946 and managed to get to Israel in 1948.

Shlomo Gefen

Born in1913. in Kovno, Lithuania, he joined the movement “Beitar” as a young man and became an active member of this organization, being appointed to the position of Lithuanian operational officer in the organization before WWII. After the war, in 1945, he was involved in the illegal transfer of Jews from Lithuania through Poland into Palestine –Eretz Israel. Arrested soon after that and sentenced to 9 years in Gulag plus to 1 year in exile, he was released in 1955, but was unable to get to Israel until 1971. In Israel he was an active member of the Council of the Organization of the Prisoners of Zion and served as its chairman for several years. He died in 2005.

Nahman Globinsky

Born on 08.06.1901 in Makovo, Poland, he was became, in 1932, the chairman of the fund “Keren ha’esod” in the city of Brisk and chairman of the association “The Friends of the Jewish University in Jerusalem”. He was also Council member of the Polish branch of “Poalei Zion”. Arrested in 1945 on charges of Zionist activities, he was condemned by OSO to 15 years in the Gulag and spent his time in the various prisons and camps of Siberia. Released in 1957, he left the USSR for Israel in the same year. He died in 1978.

Mordehai Gotesman

Born in1919 in Cheldiz-Fiaski, Poland, he joined “Beitar” in 1936, becoming an eminent figure in the movement. He was sent to a labor camp by the Nazis and was in Buchenwald from 1942. Freed by the American army, he started working in the organization “Brikha ve – Aliya”, which involved the illegal transferring of Jews from Poland to Germany, and from there to Palestine –Eretz Israel. In November 1945 he was arrested by Soviet authorities and sentenced to 10 years hard labor in the Gulag but even there continued his Zionist activities. Released in 1955, he left the USSR for Poland in1957 and in the same year he managed to leave Poland for Israel. He died in 1992.

Joseph Gross

Born in 1913 in Burgovo, Hungary, he served in the Czech army and, after demobilization, became an activist in the revisionist movement “Beitar”. In 1945 after the Soviet occupation, he was arrested by SMERSH and accused of Zionist anti-Soviet activity. Sentenced to 8 years in the Gulag plus 2 years of exile, he was released in 1956, returning to his home town where he was under continuous surveillance by the KGB. He didn’t obtain permission to leave until 1979, when he went to Israel.

Shmuel Gurvitz

Born on 22.11.1922 in Riga, Latvia, he was arrested in Tashkent, in 1945, on charges of Zionist propaganda. He spent 6 years in various camps in the Gulag in Siberia. Released in 1951, he escaped to Israel in 1969. He died in 1983.

Zondell Havidan

Born in1925 in Lithuania, he was an active member of “Beitar” until 1940. In 1945 he attempted to cross the state boundary illegally and escape to Eretz Israel, but was caught near Vilnius and sentenced to 10 years in the Gulag. After his release from the labor camp he continued to fight for the right to be emigrate to Israel, His dream finally came true in 1969. He died in 1983.

David Keren (Krumholtz)

Born in1919 in Kishinev, he was active in the movement “Young Zionists” from an early age, becoming, until the beginning of WWII, secretary of the Hachshara department in Bukovina where agricultural courses for the future settlers in the future Jewish state where held. During the War he turned to underground activities in Bukovina. After the end of the War he moved to Chernovtsy with his family. Arrested by Soviet authorities in 1945, he was sentenced to 8 years in the Gulag. The sentence was served in its entirety and he was released in 1953. Despite his best efforts, he was unable to reach Israel till 1972. He died in 1992.

Jacob Levin

Born in1929 in Rokitna, Poland, he became a member of organizations “Hashomer Hatzair “and “Beitar” in his youth. In 1944 he was the secretary to the Zionist rabbi of Minsk. Arrested in 1945, in Tashkent, he was accused of Zionist activities and of the organization of an illegal Zionist youth movement. He was sentenced to 3.5 years in the Gulag, and served his sentence in the camp of “Chirchikstroy” in Uzbekistan. Released in 1948, he managed to leave the USSR for Israel together with his family in 1949.

Yaacov Liash

Born in1916 in Dnepropetrovsk, the Ukraine to a family that lived in Shavli, Lithuania from 1921 till 1940. He studied in the “Tarbut” classic high school and in 1928 joined the “Beitar” movement An active member of the Jewish community, he was also a correspondent in the newspapers “Idishe Shtime” (“Jewish voice”), “Unser moment” (“Our time”) and “Der Emes” (“The truth”). In 1937-38 he was the leader of “Beitar” in Shavli. After the Soviet occupation he organized an underground group, whose members included Dov Shilansky, the future member of Israeli parliament, and was in close connection with I. Pulyarevich, an operational officer of “Beitar” in Lithuania, who was responsible for the underground activity. Evacuated to the city of Marry, Turkmenistan, at the beginning of WWII, his small apartment became the secret address for meetings of underground Zionist agents. In 1942 he moved to the city of Kramina, Uzbekistan, where he continued his Zionist activities. In 1945 he was arrested by NKWD, charged with “high treason, dissemination of anti-Soviet Zionist materials and writing a book about the Jews of Bukhara” and sentenced to 10 years in the Gulag. Released in 1954, he returned to Vilnius. He and his family finally received permission to go to Israel in 1969. In 1970, together with I. Pulyarevich, A. Shtukarevich and others, he founded the “Organization of the Prisoners of Zion”. In 1987 he was one of the authors of the book about the prisoners of Zion “B’ lakhav hama’avak” (“In the Flame of Fight”). He served as permanent secretary of the “Organizations of the Prisoners of Zion”, was a delegate to 29-th, 30-th and 31-d Zionist Congresses and actively fought for the global right of free immigration to Israel, and also for the rights and the recognition of prisoners of Zion. He died in 1996.

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