NAME: Calderon, Yaakov


DATE OF BIRTH: September 4, 1927

DATE OF DEATH: September 14, 1992

Yaakov was born on September 4,1927 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, to his parents Esther and Shlomo. The family had three sons. The father sold furniture. (Yaakov’s parents and brothers would make aliyah in 1948 and settle in Petah Tikva, where the father would take odd jobs and the mother worked in Beit HaOlim in Rosh HaAyin.) The family was Religious Zionist. Yaakov completed twelve grades of public school, and he began his Beitar activity at age six.

He joined the Youth Aliyah, arriving in December 1944, legally, by way of Turkey, Syria and Lebanon. When he arrived, he was transferred to Atlit with everyone else, staying there for three weeks. Afterwards, he went with other youths to Kvutzat Shiller, where he studied Hebrew for four hours daily and worked as a wagon-driver.

After meeting Geula Cohen in Rehovot in the middle of 1945, he joined Lehi with his Beitar friends from Plovdiv. After six months in Kvutzat Shiller, he moved to Tel Aviv and began Lehi activities. He put up posters, distributed propaganda, trained with light weapons and did whatever he was asked.

In 1946, he started working as a plumbing supervisor in the British army base at Tel Litwinsky. He reported to Lehi what the British were doing, drawing maps and following up on all information. In 1947, he carried out a daring operation, planting a bomb in a cinema, where the senior British officers sat. This caused many injuries. The explosion was heard as far away as his home in Gat Rimon.

In Atlit, he developed a relationship with Ora Matza, who had also been in his group in the Youth Aliyah. They grew closer at Kvutzat Shiller, and they married in August 1946. She knew of his Lehi activities; she even accompanied him when he went to visit his comrades imprisoned in Acre after the Haifa Railway Workshops operation. They hid Avi Ben-Har in their home in Gat Rimon. He had escaped from Acre, and hiding him subjected them to great danger, as his picture was publicized along with those of all the escapees, who had a price on their heads. When the State was established, Yaakov joined the IDF, serving in the Engineering Corps, serving in a permanent capacity at Tel HaShomer, where he was a plumbing supervisor.

From 1952 on, he had a store for building supplies in Petah Tikva, where they moved in 1950. Yaakov was respected and well-liked in his new home. He supported the local seniors’ residence, helped those in need (such as the elderly and those who had recently made aliyah), and gave economic and emotional aid to penniless families. He had an open heart and hand. After his retirement, he volunteered at Beit Yair.

Yaakov suddenly died, after a brief illness, on September 14,1992, leaving behind his wife and two daughters.