Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Egyptian Consulate Takeover 1956

Former Netziv Steve Adler supplied the following montage of newspaper clippings relating to Betar's takeover pf the Egyptian consulate in New York:

The Herut newspaper reported on April 15, copying a UP item, that 22 members of Betar, mostly 15-16 years old, took over the offices of Egypt's NY Consulate, conducted memorial prayers for Israelis killed at Shafir by the Egyptian Army and the Fedayeen terrorist, 

sang Hebrew songs and then the American national anthem before leaving.  They stayed in the offices of an hour and a half and the police, while not arresting them, took down their personal details:

I hope to update this and ask for any personal testimonies of participants, etc.


This clipping, UP quoting Al Ahram, 

notes that a protest note was submitted to Cabot-Lodge. And while the Egyptians claimed they could have thrown the Betarim out by themselves, that would have led to violence so they waited for the police. They complained the police were tardy in showing up.

They also complain that there was a shooting incident the previous year which went unsolved.

Here is HaBoker from April 15

and HaTzofeh

All three were front page.

Davar ignored it. ^

Monday, February 12, 2018

August 1930

That newspaper report appeared in Doar Hayom on August 29, 1930.

It is in a column devoted to World Betar news and informs that there are branches in New York City, where there are several Machozim, and Detroit. Its educational work is directed towards Eretz-Yisrael.  A demonstration protesting British Mandatory immigration restrictions was recently held.

In Canada, there are two branches: Toronto and Vancouver.


And in Nova Scotia

A new item in Hazit HaAm of February 19, 1932

notes that the USA Betar monthly mentioned the arrests of Betarim in Palestine in connection with protests against the Census and includes information on the opening of a branch in Nova Scotia as well as Chatham (close to Detroit), New Brunswick and the largest branch, Montreal.

On December 27, 1931 classes for new Madrichim had begun in New York.

The following year, the matter of arrested Betarim was the subject of a special telegram which was sent as published in Hazit HaAm on November 10, 1933


Propes Arrives in America 1934

A clipping of HaYarden, August 14, 1934, announcing that Aaron Propes, then Netziv Betar Poland, is travelling to the United States to help Betar there:

He was interviewed by the press, appeared on a radio program and traveled around the country.


Friday, January 12, 2018

Coney Island, 1933

An item in Hazit Ha'Am, June 30, 1933, reporting on World Betar news, includes such details that a new branch of North American Betar opened at Coney Island:

and that a new monthly magazine, in English and Hebrew will be appearing.

Other countries mentioned there include China (Harbin) where a future Etzel commander, Robert Bitker is appointed Mefaked, Czechoslovakia (East Slovakia & Russian Carpathia), Austria and Switzerland.


On another page, Elias Ginsburg, former Jewish Legionnaire and Betar activist leader, writes from New York:

"But what has happened in Germany since Hitler's ascension to rule cannot be described as simple anti-Semitism any more.  This is not a wave of persecutions of Jews, but a movement to exterminate the Jews.  It does not wish to restrict the rights of Jews but to deny them from Jews totally."


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

When Communists Broke Up Betar Rallies

A clipping from the then-Palestine newspaper Hazit Ha'Am, quoting from New York's Morgen Journal, and dated October 7, 1932 relating information on Betar North America.

In addition to meetings, publications and activities, and preparing for a first group of Olim, it relates that an open-air rally was conducted in the Bronx's Claremont Parkway Park.

When speaker Israel Poznansky of the Revisionist Movement mentioned the differnece between Zionism and Eretz-Yisrael and the Soviet example of Biro-Bidjan, Communists began breaking up the meeting.  Police intervention was required.


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

On Betar Brooklyn in the Early 1960s

From Ben Rappaport:

When I was first introduced to Betar at some party in Brooklyn by a fellow named Izzy Lew. He was Cuban and just got engaged. He was the only Betari in Brooklyn at the time.

I was at that that time looking to join a Zionist organization and checked out Habonim. Even though they had a few pretty girls there Habonim just rubbed me the wrong way. Izzy invited me to meet Butch in NYC. The office was then on 72nd street. 

To make the story short I liked what I heard and started learning about Betar. I took it on myself to start building Brooklyn Betar (Izzy had dropped out of the movement). I had a theory that if there will be enough girls the guys will come. Of course we had as yet no Moadon. I started recruiting at the beach on Brighten Bay 3. 

Carol Rogers was new to Betar and offered me to use her basement in  Bensonhurst. It was dark and dusty. We all cleaned it up and the Moadon was known as Carol’s basement. 

Brooklyn Betar grew and I was then made Mefaked Brooklyn. We had almost a dozen members and then Benny Rosen z”l and Zisel finished their service, Ben in the Navy and Zisel in the coast guard. Benny was from Mexican Betar and Zisel from Cuban Betar. When the Jews escaped Cuba, a number of Cuban Betarim landed in Brooklyn and that helped further fill up Carol’s basement with a number of more Betarim.  

Carol Roger’s basement  gave us a home base.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Camp Betar at Neversink - First Season 1951

We now have a referenced confirmation of when the property at Neversink, N.Y. was purchased and when was the first season there of Camp Betar.




Update from Yitz Hemowitz:
I was the one who drew the plans for the buildings.  They were built by a carpenter,  Mr. John Mosier assisted by Betarim.  In 1951 the entire camp lived in the main building down the hill.  In 1952 we built two bunks on the hill.  In 1953 we built another two double bunks on the other side of the hill, so all the campers lived in the bunks.  (The older kids called "Yarden" slept in tents, as did the Bet Sefer.) In 1954 (or maybe 1953) we built the dining hall, which included the head counselor's office.
 Then we built the Rec Hall, in which I had no part.  Some time later they built the swimming pool.  When Mr. Mosier wanted to encourage the working Betarim, he called out, "Klap naigel, man!"

Yitzhak Heimowitz


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Camp Betar 1950s

From Yitz Heimovitz's archives:


Steve Adler adds:

I recognize some in the pictures.
Pix 2 2 girls Phyllis Heimowitz (nee Goodman) in white Evelyn (nee Goodman) in blue
Pix 3 Izzy Herman standing
Pix 4 standing in extreme right Dov Hertz ,standing in extreme left Mischa Abramov kneeling in middle Steve Adler and next to him on left Nira Rubin
Pix 5 on Left Steve Adler in back Nira Rubin
pix 6 Standing right to left  Yitz Heimowitz, Gery Ferman Sitting: Steve Adler, Gad Padhatzur, ?, Phyllis Goodman, Evelyn Goodman, David Niv
Pix 7 Yaacov Leiberman, Caption should be Camp Yarden


In picture 6, the question mark happens to be me, yours truly, Roz Rubin, probably called Rachel (Hebrew) or Rozzie those wonderful days. I am the person (i.e. question mark) sitting between Gad Pedhazur and the Goodman girls.  Clearly much younger than now and also thinner with shortish brown hair.  


From Seymour Rosneberg's memoir:


Thursday, September 14, 2017

German Consulate Demonstration, 1962

Here is the Herut newspaper report on the October 1962 demonstration outside the West German consulate in New York protesting the country's involvement in the Egyptian missile project

Would appreciate any input of details.



From Ben Rappaport -

I do not remember all of the chevra that participated in the short takeover of what I believe was actually the German UN offices staff.
Following is the list of chevra that I do remember. Please add/or correct if I am wrong and please excuse me for the names of people I have forgotten.
I blame my loss of memory on my medications.
I do remember, Yitzhak Heimowitz was on standby to negotiate with the police.

1)    Benny Rosen z”l
2)   Butch Brody
3)   Yonah Furman
4)   Zisel Sansonowicz
5)   Reuven Genn
6)   David Sprung
7)   ?????...........

One comment.
Since I was in a minor confrontation with the police I had one sleeve of my Blazer almost ripped off. Was more worried of the confrontation I was going to have with my parents. As I walked into the apartment passing the kitchen I saw mom washing some dishes. Mom turned around, looked at me and just asked, “Betar”? I nodded my head and all she did was turn back to the sink and continued to wash dishes. I knew I was in deep…trouble.


From Eugene "Butch" Brody -

I vividly recall that as I started to make a prepared statement an NYC cop told me to "shut up" and then punched me in the stomach. At that point, BEN stepped between the cop 
and me. He then took the physical abuse. I am forever in his debt. I finally made only about 25% of the prepared statement.  I think that YONA made a statement also. It certainly was 
a memorable afternoon............butch

Ben Rappaport has now provided us with a more complete recall:

Will give you my version of my memories and hope the all the names will be listed. The situation was such that each of us felt as Betarim and Jews we needed to respond and do something about German scientists helping the Egyptians build missiles that they could launch against the Jewish state.

I will not go into all the details.

I think the German UN offices were on the tenth floor. We first had to go into a small room and the outer door had to be closed before the inner door opened. In those days there were no security or surveillance cameras, just intercoms. All the chevra went into the room quickly and since I was a big guy and played HS football I was opposite the door so as soon as the door opened I would push the door open so we would not end up being locked in the small room. Our hearts were beating waiting for the door to open and I was ready as a tight spring to barrel forward. The door cracks open. I never had a chance. All the chevra shoved me through as if I was battering ram.
It was a woman that open the door and she ran to the back offices.

We all sat down and of course we not only locked the door but, and I believe it was Zisel Sansanowicz and myself, we put our backs to the door. Since we were in narrow corridor we put our feet against the wall to really make it difficult for someone to enter. Benny Rosen z”l got up and gave a excellent speech of the immorality that the German Government allowed German citizens go and help the Egyptians develop missiles to attack Jews. Benny was great and spoke for a few minutes. Don’t remember who got up next and then talked. In the meantime we heard police sirens on the streets below.

Now this was a thick metal door and had at least three hinges. We heard the police behind the door as they were huffing and puffing trying to get in. They tried using some type jack to open the door.

Two things scared me. I saw the thick metal hinges about the break and overheard someone said they should bring a certain rifle to shoot open the lock. My head was on the other side of that lock. We discussed what we should do and Butch said open the door. We all readied ourselves as I opened the door.

Well, that moment reminded me of a Keystone cops scene. The cops didn’t expect to door to open and three fell in together and for a second the three got stuck between door frames. The police began quickly dragging the chevra out. I was sitting and suddenly saw David Sprung (he was skinny then) being thrown and flying above my head. I realized the cops were each dragging out the smaller fellas first and suddenly I was sitting there by myself. This cop comes in to drag me out and to me he looked like the shortest cop on the NYC police force. He asked me to get up and walked out. It actually sounded like he was begging me. I told him since all my friends were dragged out I too had to be dragged out. He bopped me over the head with his nightstick and another cop came and helped him drag me out.

A couple of reporters had arrived. A news photographer was holding his large press camera told a cop to place one of us opposite the large emblem that depicted the German Eagle. The cop told me to stand there and I told him I wouldn’t pose with that Nazi emblem, He was a big cop and he suddenly grabbed me and threw me against the wall next to that emblem. Well, when I was a kid and played baseball I hardly ever did hit the ball. Much rarer did I make contact and hit a homeroom. It’s that moment when you hit the ball and that instant you knew you just sent the ball into outer space.

Well, without thinking I reacted at the officer that slammed me against the wall and I kicked the police officer. At that moment I knew I had a “Houston, we have lift off,” moment. That was the last thing I remember standing up. I don’t know how many cops were beating me with their nightsticks. Definitely two or more.

Now it gets funny!!! I am now in a fetal position trying to protect my head as I was being hit and suddenly Butch looks down at me and shouts “Ben control yourself.” I’m thinking, I am lying on the ground, what can I do to control myself? Butch got a nightstick painfully jammed into his stomach for trying to help me. As I am still lying there getting hit, I suddenly see that a cop has Yonah Furman in some hold with his nightstick and realize Yonah is slammed against the wall with his feet dangling off the ground. Yonah then shouts out “Gentlemen this is a peaceful demonstration.” Maybe because of these preposterous scenes it aggravated the cops because I was laughing as they were hitting me.

The rest is a blur to me and we were all let go after our names and addresses were taken. I would think we have Yitzhak Hemowitz to thank we were not arrested.
Did it have any affect? Maybe an iota, and probably less than that, but I am proud we did what we felt we had to do. It was the very least we could have done. Today we still smile and talk of the day we occupied the German UN Offices. That’s what I remember…..

Hope others will share their memories.

Of course wish Benny could have shared his view of that day’s events. He was a great writer. We all miss him.

Ben Rappaport

From David Sprung

There were 8 of us. It was the German observer mission to the U. N. From what I remember. I think Jack Lichie may have been one and I just can’t remember who else. Actually Ben , you started the ruckus when you punched a cop that flew across the room after he wanted you to put your hands on the wall exactly opposite the German symbol on the wall and you refused. That’s when they started in on us with the Billie clubs!


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Any Betarim in This Picture?

A group of Palestinian Jews aboard the American export liner Marine Carp wave goodbye prior to sailing from New York, May 4, 1948, for their native land to fight the Arabs.          (AP Photo/Joe Caneva)
Ref #: PA.5737223
Date: 04/05/1948


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Visiting with Moshe Brodetsky

From Aaron Bashani:-

Dear Chevreh,

I've just returned home to French Hill from a very nice visit with Moshe Brodetzky in East Talpiot.

He's doing well but, as usual, very tired.  Moshe now has a 24/7 caregiver from India named, appropriately so, Aaron. He's a big fellow and surely up to any chore.

Before  I arrived, he also had the visit of two of his grandchildren.  

I brought him an extra copy of the Catalogue for the 17th World Congress of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem, August 6-10, in which I had participated.  I related to Moshe a few of the highlights from the Congress.

The whole visit with Moshe lasted about an hour.

Attached are also two pictures from my last visit with Moshe a week ago

Tel Hai



Friday, July 14, 2017

Neversink Forever

For over two decades, Camp Betar of North American Betar was located near the Sullivan County's Town of Neversink in New York State.

The derivation of the word Neversink remains uncertain. Present research says the word Neversink came from the Indian name Mahackamack. The name also appears with a fictional USS Neversink that appears in Herman Melville's White Jacket, an 1850 novel that was instrumental in abolishing flogging in the U.S. Navy.

Neversink's population in the 2010 census was  3,557.

It used to look like this about a century ago:

The camp was located in the general area of the blue circle:

And here is a satellite aerial view:

And it was deep in the Catskills:

The camp grounds were purchased in 1950 and the location served as Camp Betar until 1975 and a year or so later was sold.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Salute to Israel Parade Pictures

Courtesy of Chuck (Shachna) Waxman [see at end for additional identifications]:

L-R: Aaron Goldberg, Chuck (Haim) Hornstein, Risa Rich (Tzohar),
Chaim Fischgrund, Dov Skolnik, Shachna Waxman, Danny Epstein, Jerry (Yosef) Kandel

R-L: Reuven Genn, Myron Buchman, 

Reuven Genn, Avi Udler, Aaron Goldberg. To left of Danny Epstein (neckerchief) is Alan Berg

Chuck (Shachna) Waxman, 1965

Center: Aaron Goldberg (with flag), Myron Buchman (standing),  
(in the kerchief) Dora Kiczales

Foreground: Mel Laytner, Mella Pollachek, Myron Buchman,
Second row, left: Reuven Miller,

Center: Tzvi Briks, far right: Moshe Kiczales, first on right with
back to camera: Benji Roth (?). On left, sideview: Danny Schultz, and 
with back to camera with kippah, Yaakov Sklar.

More pictures here.

At the Bandshell after the Parade:

L-R: Chaim Fischgrund, Marty Rein, Yisrael (Winkie) Medad

Winkie and daughter She'era, 1977


UPDATE from Chuck:

Pic 1:
To Aharon's right is Mel Laytner; behind Risa is Mella; between me and Jerry is Danny Epstein

Pic 2:
Behind Reuven's left shoulder is Avi Udler to his right is Aaron Broges; in front of Aaron is Nirit; to Bucky's right is Ellen Zwick and to her right is Jeff Maas, with Mark Steiman on the trumpet and Johnny Braun at the far right behind Alan Berg. 

Pic 3:
Benny Rosen between Avi and Reuven; Baruch Kraus to the right of Avi with the glasses with Chaim Fishgrund behind him; Aharon Goldberg "behind" Reuven - looking down and Danny Epstein to the left side of the circle wearing the hat and "kerchief"

Pic 4::
Aaron Broges on the left; Mella Pollacheck in from of him and Marcie Rosen to Mella's left.