NAME: Frunin, Tzvi


DATE OF BIRTH: June 10, 1912

DATE OF DEATH: October 7, 2001

Tzvi was born on June 10, 1912 in Riga, Latvia, to his father Mordechai and his mother Masha. His father dealt in wood, and later he supported the six-member family with a grocery. Tzvi studied in a “Cheder Metukan,” located in a regular school but stressing religious studies. When he finished, he moved on to the Hebrew Gymnasium. In 1928, he joined Beitar.

He made aliyah in 1933, serving in a Beitar company in Hadera and then in Rosh Pina, where in 1934, he joined Hagana Bet, the Nationalist Hagana. In 1935, he finished his mandatory service in the company and moved to Nahariya, where he was among the first workers in the settlement. The same year, he finished a lieutenants course in Haifa. He worked as a manual laborer, transporting citrus fruit. When the riots began in 1936, he was sent back to Nahariya to run the branch.

In 1939, he was sent to Poland, for a military course for IZL commanders, taught by officers from the Polish Army. With the split in IZL, in 1940 he joined Lehi. In 1941, he was put in charge of the Haifa branch. In early 1942, about two weeks before Yair was killed, he was put in charge of the Tel Aviv branch.

In May 1942, the police put a price on the head of Tzvi and some of his comrades: one thousand pounds for information leading to his arrest. They were suspected of being involved in a number of assassinations, including the attack on Colonel Allan Saunders, Inspector-General of Police in Palestine, on 22.4.1942. Since their pictures were distributed widely, Tzvi grew out his beard and hid in agricultural settlements, in forests and in orchards in the Sharon and the south, while he kept up his underground activities. As he now had a beard and was in his thirties, they gave him the nickname of Old-timer.

Tzvi also worked on the production of explosives. When the British captured the secret Lehi radio station on HaShomer Street in Tel Aviv on 18 February 1946, many of the men in the building were arrested; only Tzvi managed to escape. Still, three months later he was identified and arrested in the street. At first, he was held in Jerusalem Central Prison; then he was transferred to Latrun.

He was exiled to detention camps in Africa: first Sembel (near Asmara, Eritrea), then Gilgil in Kenya, where he remained until the State was established.

Tzvi returned with the last of the exiles on 12 July 1948, and he enlisted in the IDF. After his demobilization, he worked in interior architecture and sculpture. He sculpted Yair’s face for Beit Yair, and presented a proposal for the central monument to Lehi’s fallen.

Tzvi passed away during Sukkot, on October 7,2001.

He was buried in the Yarkon Cemetery, in the Lehi section.