NAME: Mirkin, Nahum

LEHI ALIAS: Arnon

DATE OF BIRTH: 1893

DATE OF DEATH: January 24, 1973

Nahum Yitzhak was born in Kruhłe, modern-day Belarus, to Hillel and Sarah (daughter of David Mazza). When he was young, the family emigrated to Turkey. He received both a traditional Jewish education and a secular education as well. When World War I began, he emigrated to Bulgaria, where he worked in an office in a tobacco company. He was attracted to the young socialists’ circle, meeting Georgi Dimitrov, one of its leaders, who eventually became prime minister.

Nahum fell in love with Perla Eliav, who was facing deportation, which Dimitrov helped him defeat. In 1915 they married and had a son, Yaakov. When Dimitrov was sought by the authorities and had to be smuggled out of the country, Nahum hid him in his house, got a passport for him, arranged a disguise for him and finally smuggled him out with a tobacco shipment. The authorities discovered this and he was facing a death sentence.

He had to flee Bulgaria with a Polish passport, and he set his sights on Palestine. In 1917, he reached Egypt, but he could get no further. He went into business, and after two years he was able to bring his wife and son to Cairo. He soon learned that Dimitrov was on trial. Mirkin sent his friend’s wife one thousand pounds. In 1926, he first visited the Land of Israel as a tourist. He met some orchard owners from Petah Tikva, and he felt that his calling was in agriculture. In 1928, he made aliyah with his family, and he was one of the first settlers in Segula, in which he established a farm. He was a member of Bonim Hofshim. As a man of action, he thought that Lehi’s path was the correct one, and he joined in 1944.

He let the underground use his house and property freely. One of his buildings was used for firearms and command training courses. His property was a base for combat operations, including the attack on the Kfar Syrkin airfield. In 1946, he left as an emissary of the underground to Bulgaria, connecting Lehi to his good friend Dimitrov, who was then prime minister of Bulgaria and a Stalin ally. This mission helped convince the Soviet Union to support the establishment of the State of Israel and the emigration of Bulgarian Jews to it. After another mission to Bulgaria, he returned to Israel and devoted himself to agriculture, along with his wife.

After the Bernadotte assassination, the authorities came to arrest him and could not find him. Instead, they arrested his son Yaakov, interrogated him and detained him for 62 days. He was only released after he signed an affidavit that he was not and would never be in contact with any terrorist organizations.

Nahum passed away at age 80, on January 24, 1973.

Join our mailing list