NAME: Kotzer (Teitelbaum), Aryeh

LEHI ALIAS: Elazar

DATE OF BIRTH: December 25, 1912

DATE OF DEATH: June 1, 1985

Aryeh Yehuda Leib, son of Shneur Zalman and Nehama Teitelbaum, a descendant of Rabbi Moshe Isserles, was born on December 25, 1912 in Polack in what is now Belarus.

In 1932, as a young Beitar member, led a course in self-defense in many cities around Poland, and he was a commander in Brit HaHayil. During a demonstration in the city of Baranovichi, he was attacked by an axe-wielding Shomer HaTza’ir member, giving him a severe head wound. As a result, he spent a year hospitalized in Warsaw.

On September 8,1935 he made aliyah and started working as a porter at the Haifa Port, then as a ghaffir in Zikhron Yaakov. He joined the IZL and took part in retributive attacks in response to Arab terror, as well as smuggling weapons for the underground. In addition, he tried to save Polish Jewry, writing a pamphlet on their behalf. In 1937, after blowing a shofar at the end of Yom Kippur by the Western Wall, he was sentenced to six months in Jerusalem’s Kishleh, where he wrote Notes from Prison. In 1938, he was chosen to be a representative at the first Beitar conference in Warsaw. He returned to the Land of Israel and served as a company commander in Rosh Pina, when Shlomo Ben-Yosef was executed.

In 1939, he realized his dream to establish the Jabotinsky Institute, and he surprised Zeev Jabotinsky on his sixtieth birthday by presenting him with sixty volumes of his writings. Professor Yosef Klausner and others helped him realize this dream.

In 1940, after the split, he followed Yair. In 1941, he was arrested and sent to Mizra. There he wrote Ami-Shaddai, HaMered Ba. After Yair’s murder, he was sent to Acre for more than two years, much of it in solitary confinement. In 1944, he was deported to Eritrea and then Sudan, where he wrote Moshe. In 1945, his ill health led to his release, along with his wife Batya’s efforts, assisted by Professor Klausner, Rabbi Herzog and others. When he returned from Africa, he continued in his Lehi activity until the State was established. He was arrested after the Bernadotte assassination, and he participated in the hunger strike in Acre Prison. He also tried to clear the name of Shmuel, the fighter who had been executed by Lehi.

In 1949, he founded the League for Soviet Jewry. He established the Independent Teachers Union, serving on the limited directorial board. He edited the pedagogical weekly Dapim, and he wrote BeDam Maftzia Shahar. In 1955, he established the Kfar Silver Agricultural School, named after and supported by Abba Hiller Silver. He then wrote Bat Aya.

In the Sinai War, he was the one to accept the letter of surrender from Beit Hanoun, as he was in the company of the agricultural guide Harodi. He established the Blue and White Party with attorney Shmuel Tamir. In 1956, he established Makeda Press, which published many books, works of philosophy, historical treatises and historical novels. In 1969, he established Ariel High School in Rishon LeZion.

He was one of the founders of the Tehiya Movement, and he was the director of its Jerusalem chapter. He was on the limited directorial board of Bnai Brith and he was one of the founders of the Hadar office of HaBonim HaHofshim.

He passed away on 1985. He left behind his wife, Batya, and four daughters: Loera, Osnat, Nehama and Keren.

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