NAME: Medan, Eliyahu

DATE OF BIRTH: 1923

DATE OF DEATH: 21.4.1986

Eliyahu was born in 1923 to Moshe Yitzhak and Raisa Gittel Moldovan in Kwasy, in Carpathian Ruthenia, Czechoslovakia (now Zakarpattia Oblast, Ukraine).

In 1930, the family moved to what is now Berehove. The father was a merchant, while the mother was a homemaker, raising her nine sons and one daughter.

Eliyahu studied in a public school and was a Beitar member. In 1939, he participated in Beitar’s illegal aliyah program Af al Pi, on the ship Katina. The journey was agonizing and perilous. He served in the Beitar company in Rosh Pina, and with the split in IZL, he joined Lehi in 1940. He then moved on to the Beitar company in Be’er Yaakov, and from there to Ekron. In 1942, he was arrested in Rishon LeZion while training with firearms.

Eliyahu resided in Nur Shams, near Tulkarm. After some time, he was transferred to Mizra, and afterwards he ended up in Latrun. In 19 October 1944, he was among the first group of 251 prisoners who were exiled to Africa. He was held in Sembel (near Asmara, Eritrea). On 27 Janaury 1945, he was sent with the others to Carthago, Sudan. On 22 Decemebr 1945, he was flown back to the Land of Israel and was released.

At first, he lived in Jerusalem under the watchful eye of the CID, in the home of Mrs. Bat-Sheva Katznelson, one of the heads of WIZO, who would eventually become a member of the Second Knesset, as part of the General Zionist Party. Her son, Shmuel Tamir, who ultimately became Justice Minsiter, was an IZL member, then was arrested and exiled to Kenya.

Mrs. Katznelson hired Eliyahu and looked after him, and he met Yigal Horowitz, who would eventually become Finance Minsiter, a member of the Nahalal settlement. Yigal brought him to his parents’ farm, hoping that the agricultural work would occupy and rehabilitate him. In the Horowitz home, he met their daughter Ruth. They married on Lag BaOmer 1947. Eliyahu and Ruth were among the first settlers of Bethlehem in the Galilee during the time of the War of Independence. They raised their family amid this setting, dedicating themselves to agricultural work.

Two of Eliyahu’s brothers, Ezra and Simcha, who reached the Land of Israel in 1938, were also Lehi members. Three other brothers, Israel, Gershon and Yaakov, survived the concentration camps in Europe and arrived after the War of Independence to raise families of their own. His parents and his three brothers Shalom, Hayim Meir and David, as well as his sister Ethel and her family, perished in the Holocaust.

Eliyahu passed away on 21.4.1986, due to illness. His wife also died after an illness in 1999. They left three sons, Yitzhak, Giora and Yoram, as well as numerous grandchildren.

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