NAME: Degani (Wolpe) Moshe


DATE OF DEATH: September 1, 1965

Moshe was born in Rasaine  Lithuania, 1914. His father Tsemach, was an agriculturalist with a large farm; a Zionist who educated his children in that spirit. Moshe studied at  “Yavneh” school, then “Slovodka Yeshiva”, and Rasaine Hebrew High-School. Aged 17 he joined the “Pioneer” Movement and made Aliyah 1933. Half-a-year later, he was asked to join Hagannah.  Uninterested in political factions, his only desire was to become a member of a military organisation that would defend Jewish lives.

When the Riots began he could not accept the non-retribution policy. The event which shocked him most was the brutal murder of two Jewish nurses from Jaffa hospital. He decided to join Etzel. During the Riots, he underwent a Section Command Course, and before the outbreak of WWII was sent to Europe to organise illegal immigration. He’d already become very active in Etzel, in charge of receiving and distributing weapons sent from Poland, to all Etzel branches.

During the 1940 division, he joined Lehi. That year, after the assassination of Yair, when Lehi was almost destroyed, he was among the few members who began re-establishing the movement. A year afterwards he participated in a large money confiscation operation and  was arrested for several months. In 1944 he was arrested again, for four years. He was among the first prisoners exiled to Eritrea and Kenya; Moshe was responsible for the great tunnelling operation at Eritrea. The attempted escape failed. He was returned to Israel, to Latrun 1947.  Moshe had the reputation of an expert tunnel-digger, and began tunnelling at Latrun. One week before the scheduled  escape, the operation was discovered because of an informer.

He escaped from Latrun 1948, returned to the underground, then joined the IDF with the other Lehi soldiers. He joined the First Armoured Corps  8th Brigade, and became 2nd Battalion Transport Officer, until middle of 1949. After various positions, Moshe was appointed Head of a Maintenance Workshop, until discharge in 1963, ranking Lieutenant Colonel. Moshe passed away on September 1,1965. He left behind wife Rivka nee Lurir, and his children: Shifra, Yael, and Roni.