NAME: Kotlicki (née Freitag), Ruth


DATE OF BIRTH: November 19, 1924

Ruth was born in Krakow, Poland, on November 19, 1924 the youngest of three sisters. The family was Religious Zionist, making aliyah in 1935 and settling in Tel Aviv. The father, Meir, was energetic and resourceful, a textile wholesaler and retailer. The mother, Feige Zipporah, was attractive, with a noble bearing and unique character; she was an exemplary spouse. In 1928, Meir went to the Land of Israel as a tourist; upon the advice of Yehoshua Henkin, he bought land from Arabs, far away from the centers of Jewish settlement at the time.

Ruth studied in Tel Aviv in the Talpiot school and gymnasium, and she was a member of the Scouts and the Hagana. As she finished high school, she decided not to continue with university but to join the Palmach. Its representatives came to the gymnasium to recruit fighters to protect the Promised Land from German invasion. Ruth left the Palmach when she decided that it was not contributing to that goal.

Instead, in 1943, she joined Lehi, where she was an instructor, trainer and organizer. She was part of the admissions board, helping new recruits adjust. She was responsible for the youth division and basic training in Gush Dan, Tel Aviv and the surrounding area. After this stage, the new recruits would be assigned to various divisions based on their talents. In spring 1948, she founded the youth camp Ramat Yair at Sheikh Munis, and she was responsible for its activity.

When Lehi was disbanded at the establishment of the State, she was tasked with helping youth transition from the underground to a lawful framework. She was therefore released from military service (one of fifty from the movement exempted in this manner). When she finished this duty, she enlisted herself to Battalion 82, to the female commanders’ course. Even though she finished the course successfully, she was discouraged by the open hostility toward Lehi veterans within the ranks of the IDF; this troubled her greatly, so she chose to request a discharge. She was entitled to this as a married woman born in 1924 who was not an officer. She declined to became an officer and thus was demobilized.

Ruth married Baruch in 1946, and they were married until his death in 1992.

In 1997, her story was told in  Leah Giladi’s Aleihen Lo Katvu. This book told the story of fourteen young women who were Lehi members.

Ruth and Baruch had two children, Gideon and Ayelet.

Ruth continued her studies throughout her life. While she and her husband were in Tanzania, for example, she studied sociology and management. In Africa, she investigated the properties of local remedies and made interesting discoveries.

Ruth now volunteers in Beit Yair and has worked to produce a volume commemorating the stories of more than eight hundred Lehi fighters. She was involved at every level of publication.

In 2000, she became a member of the board of the Freedom Fighters of Israel Heritage Association.