NAME: Amikam (Warhaftig), Herzl



DATE OF DEATH: 12.7.1986

Herzl was born in 1918 in Ludza, Latvia, to Zalman and Bella. His father, partner in a leather factory, had socialist views and was distant from Zionism. Herzl studied in a trade school and the Hebrew Gymnasium. At age ten, he joined Beitar due to his older brother David, who became Beitar representative in Latvia. Herzl threw his fate in with the nationalist movement and the struggle for a Jewish state. At fifteen, he was already an instructor. In 1937, he became the commander of the Beitar “Mizrah” cell in Riga.

He underwent training before aliyah, and he set up, with a group of commanders, an underground cell for training with firearms. In 1939, he made aliyah on the Naomi Julia. The ship was seized by the British, and Herzl (Herzke, as everyone called him) was arrested. When he was released, he joined the Beitar company in Nes Ziona, and he soon became its commander. In 1940, he moved to the Nahalat Yitzhak company, near Jerusalem, and from there he joined the IZL. When it split, he followed Yair. He moved to Rehovot, where he was arrested on 17.3.1941. He was detained first in Mizra, then in Latrun.

Herzl was in charge of the shed from which a tunnel was dug, allowing him and nineteen of his comrades to escape on 1.11.1943. He dedicated himself to underground activity, went out to Haifa, the Lower Galilee and the Valley, in order to organize and expand the ranks of Lehi.

When he returned to Tel Aviv, he dealt with communications with supporters and youth and public relations. In 1945, he was sent abroad, to Italy, and he planned anti-British attacks. In 1946, he moved to France and started planning activities, until he was arrested by the French. Once he was released, he returned to Italy and focused on acquiring weapons. With the establishment of the State, he returned to Israel and enlisted in Battalion 89 of the 8th Brigade, Blond Dov’s company. He participated in all of the battalion’s battles, from Operation Danny to Operation Ayin and the expulsion of the Egyptians in 1949. He was one of the founders of the Fighters’ List. He also helped establish Kibbutz Neve Yair.

In 1950, Herzl married Dinah Gershon, from Bulgaria. After the war, he worked for Rassco and Sico, in construction. In 1956, he was recruited by the security services and served until 1972 in France or South Africa. Eventually he was sent to the Soviet Union. After he completed his service, he worked in construction and at the Ministry of Absorption, organizing seminars for those who had recently made aliyah. He had boundless humanity, passion and dedication to the idea of the Jewish state. He was a tireless fighter.

Herzke died on 1.7.1986. He was buried in the Lehi section in Holon. He left a wife and three sons.