NAME: Korev, Eliyahu Moshe

LEHI ALIAS: Yonatan

DATE OF BIRTH: 1918

DATE OF DEATH: December 10,1996

Eliyahu was born in 1918 to Yerachmiel and Miriam Korev in what was then Vilna, Poland (now Vilnius, Lithuania). The parents were Zionist, and the father was a community leader and a wealthy merchant. Eliyahu studied in the Tarbut Hebrew School, as well as in Hebrew Gymnasium in Vilna. In his youth, he was a member of Beitar, and in 1938, he joined Aliyah Bet, making illegal aliyah under the auspices of the Revisionists, Beitar and IZL. After much travail, he arrived in early 1939.

He was active in Beitar companies in Rosh Pina and Nes Ziona. Afterwards, he was recruited for the IZL, where he was the supervisor of the armories in Tel Aviv. Afterwards, he worked in diamond-polishing in Netanya.

After the split, he joined Lehi. He was trained with light firearms. One night he was caught by the police, but he escaped. In summer 1942, he hid in the orchards of Kfar Saba and Raanana together with Nehama and Yehoshua Cohen. He was seized by the British and imprisoned in Jerusalem and Jaffa. He was tortured mercilessly by CID interrogators, who beat his head and his genitals, but the interrogators could get nothing out of him.

In Nehama, written in memory of Naha Cohen (Sde Boker Press), Yehoshua’s wife describes the situation in the following manner: “There were three of us in the orchard, Yehoshua, Eliyahu Korev (Elyushke) and I. We were very good friends. Elyushke was amazing, faithful and dedicated; no challenge could stop him from doing what we asked. He brought the food from Raanana, as he was the only one among the three of us who would not be recognized. The whole time, I remember, that we had these meetings with Elyushke, whether about us or about the movement, he showed uncommon will and readiness to act decisively, all along the way. That’s why no one who knew him was surprised at his ability to withstand torture without saying a word.”

Geula Cohen, in A Fighter’s Story, wrote: “Our Eliyahu Korev was subjected to unspeakably bodily torture, so horrific that — although the body remained, although he was still alive — from that moment on, his soul never stopped bleeding in terror…”

Eliyahu was among the first group of 251 to be exiled to Africa on 19 October 1944. He was detained in Sembel (near Asmara, Eritrea), Carthago (Sudan), back in Eritrea, and finally in Gilgil (Kenya).

After the State was established, he was returned with the last group on 12 July 1948, after six years of detention in Israel and abroad.

After his release, he lived in Kiryat Hayim and worked as a carpenter. Afterwards, he moved to Malben seniors’ residence in Netanya. He died without children on December 10,1996.

Join our mailing list