NAME: Kotlicki, Baruch


DATE OF BIRTH: August 28, 1923

DATE OF DEATH: December 4, 1992

Baruch was born in Warsaw on August 28, 1923 to Gustav and Helena. He had an older sister. Their family was cultured and secular, proud in its Judaism. At age nine, the family moved to Lodz and lived in the Christian Quarter. Baruch studied in a school with very few Jewish students. His mother encouraged him to join Beitar, which gave him military training taught by Polish officers. His father passed away when he was ten.

He was sixteen when the Germans invaded Poland. He and his friend Yaakov Granek lied about their ages and enlisted in the Polish Army, taking part in numerous battles with the Germans. Baruch’s hand was injured and in danger of being amputated. Before he recovered, he went back to his unit to fight, until the fall of Warsaw. He and Yaakov were captured as prisoners of war and, together with other Polish troops, put on trains to Germany. They jumped off the train and made it to Lodz on foot, while Baruch was still injured. After Baruch recovered, they traveled to Vilnius, on their way to the Promised Land. In Vilnius, they studied in a Soviet technical school. Baruch also helped smuggle in groups of Jewish refugees. After much wandering, through Moscow, Turkey and Syria, they made aliyah with the youth, arriving in 1941. First they went to the youth camp at Rosh Pina, then to Tel Aviv to join Lehi. A few months after Yair’s murder, Baruch and Yaakov joined the Jewish Settlement Police. Baruch served in Beit Alfa.

With the reorganization of Lehi, Baruch was in the operations division, part of the various operations to assassinate High Commissioner MacMichael (the attempt took place on 8 August 1944). He also purchased firearms from the army base on HaYarkon Street in Tel Aviv and was injured in the attack on the Haifa Railway Workshops. He recruited new members and was involved in training and instruction. When the riots broke out, he was injured by an Arab sniper as he ran to help the wounded on the Jaffa border. Baruch had the distinction of being wounded in battle against the Germans, the British and the Arabs. When the State was established, he joined the IDF like other Lehi members, serving in the 8th Brigade’s Battalion 82, fighting in all of its battles.

Baruch was a voracious reader and music lover, a modest man who was always in good spirts and always had a tireless sense of humor. He was also courageous, a role model of camaraderie and true friendship. No mission was too dangerous or too difficult for him. He was also a dedicated family man. For many years, he worked, on and off, directing construction projects in Africa.

On August 20,1946 he married Ruth “Edith” Freitag, fellow Lehi member, and they had two children, Gideon and Ayelet.

He passed away on December 4,1992. He was buried in Beit Zayit, where his daughter lives.