NAME: Kaplan (Skolnick), Devora


Devora was born in 1914 to Fania and Hayim Skolnick in Bialystok, Poland. The father worked in a rope factory, while the mother was a homemaker, caring for Devora and her sister Yehudit. The family was traditional and Zionist.

Devora studied at the Tarbut Gymnasium, where she became fluent in Hebrew. At age thirteen, she joined Beitar with some of her friends. She was trained in a Polish village where tobacco was grown. When she returned home, Devora became a Beitar instructor, educating young girls to love the homeland.

She met Shmuel Kaplan in the movement, and they married in their late teens, in Bialystok. As Beitar pioneers, they received certificates and made aliya in 1933, settling in Tel Aviv. Shmuel was a driver for the municipality, while Devora was a waitress.

In 1936, her parents and sister made aliyah themselves, with certificates, and they settled in Ramat Gan. The father found work in the Yerushalmi factory. When Tova was born the same year, Devora quit her waitressing job and dedicated her time to her daughter, and then to her son Shammai, born in 1939.

Upon arriving in the country, Shmuel was active in the IZL; after the split, he went to Lehi.

Devora knew of his activities, and she gave him support and strength. She would always assist and encourage him. Shmuel was arrested after the 1940 APC Bank robbery in Tel Aviv, and he would spend over six years in prison and detention camps, in Israel and aboard.

Devora took her young children and moved in with her parents in Ramat Gan. They helped her a great deal through Shmuel’s long imprisonment and exile. When he returned, he rebuilt his life with his family, and they all moved to Shikun HaVatikim in Ramat Gan.

The greatest tragedy of her life was the death of Shammai, then a major, in the Six-Day War at Bir Gifgafa in the Sinai. He received the Medal of Courage for his gallantry. His son Ittai was only four years old, while his daughter Shammit was born a week after his death.

Shmuel died in 1975 of a heart attack, leaving Devora and Tova.

Devora was an inseparable part of her husband’s activity. She bore the brunt of the suffering and isolation while he was in detention for over six years, in Israel and abroad.