NAME: Beckman Esther nee Grinstein

LEHI ALIAS: Yael

DATE OF BIRTH: 1927

DATE OF DEATH: January 23, 1999

Esther, daughter of Ya’acov and Tsipora, was born in Poland 1927, and had two brothers. Her father was an Agudat-Yisrael member working in commerce. Before Hitler’s rise, he had decided to immigrate with his family to  Israel, despite strong objection from relations. They reached  Israel, settled in Tel-Aviv, experiencing the hardships of absorption. Later, they discovered that the mother’s entire family – over100 relatives – had all perished. Esther studied at ‘Mizrahi’ religious girls’ school. At home she’d absorbed values of nationalism, care for the needy and self-giving. This brought her to Beitar. Later she was in ‘Brit-Hachashmona’im’. In ideological conversations of movement leader Yehuda Feder, Esther was  active, admiring him immensely; he later  recruited her to Lehi. She was pasting up info-bulletins, and overcame her family’s objection and fear regarding her involvement, until she discovered –  in 11th grade – that the British Police were taking interest; she had to cease studies and hide. She was sent to live in a hillside house at the Arab village Jamusin. Surrounded by many orchards, surveillance took place there, and weapons courses. House residents had good relations with their Arab neighbours. Esther had to go to work for her living along with her underground activities in the Operations branch. She was mainly involved in surveillance. She gathered information from Jewish suppliers and camp technical employees working in British camps, to prepare  underground raids for weapons confiscation. She participated in the Haifa Railroad Workshops sabotage operation. She was tasked to mine the road leading to the workshops, in order to allow a safe retreat for the fighters. The retreat plan misfired. The British ambushed and attacked the Lehi fighters with crossfire. Many were killed or injured. Esther was unhurt but was arrested and transferred to Kishleh prison, Haifa. After CID interrogations, she was transferred with other injured girls – Malkha, Frieda and Yehudit – to Bethlehem Women’s prison. Esther married Ya’acov Beckman. The family lived in Neveh-Magen, Ramat-HaSharon. They had two sons and six grandchildren. Ya’acov passed away 1993. Esther passed away January 23, 1999.

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