Yosef was born in Lublin, Poland, in 1920. In his youth he joined Beitar, taking different roles. In 1937, he joined the IZL’s nationalist cells, going on many missions. When World War II broke out, he managed to flee to Vilnius, where the IZL’s third company, of one hundred members, was concentrated. He was charged to go back east and warn all of his friends to flee immediately and come to Vilnius. After he had done this, he was able to leave the country, amidst the Luftwaffe blitzkrieg, and make his way, after much travail, in a small boat to the land of Israel. As he passed through Turkey, he learned of the split.
Upon arriving in Haifa, he was sent to the Atlit detention camp. When he was freed, he joined Lehi, operating in Haifa and the north. He took part in all of the operations in the area. He was also in charge of all the weapons caches. His nom de guerre, Baruch, was his father’s name. He would take odd jobs to support himself, although he yearned to dedicate himself full-time to the struggle against the foreign occupier.
Yosef was a sensitive soul and loved to write. He wrote daily in his journal, expressing his concern over the fate of his family amid the raging Holocaust, as well as detailing his life and the life of his comrades in arms. Yosef was ready to sacrifice, and he prophetically wrote: “Perhaps in my death I can be of some good to my people, because I march towards it with full realization. I know that when I fall, my blood will irrigate the soil of the homeland for your sake, for the coming generations, and if I fall, others will take my place.”
On April 2,1944 Yosef and his comrades were handling explosive materials in a small garage in Haifa. Following the underground guidelines, two of them were armed so they would not fall into the hands of the British should they be surprised. They worked hastily, and suddenly Yosef’s pistol fell to the ground and fired into his belly. The wound bled profusely. His friend urged him to go to a doctor, but Yosef was determined not to be arrested, so he went to a nearby apartment. However, the gunshot alerted the police. In the meantime, two of his comrades followed the blood trail to the apartment. Yosef urged them to flee, and to cover their retreat, he threw a grenade at the policemen who were entering. He fled down to the street and collapsed there.
In the hospital, the police abused and beat him when he refused to answer their questions. Yosef remained silent, and he died that day. The mourning announcement from Lehi read: “His name will serve for the Hebrew youth, as a symbol of heroism, sacrifice and loyalty to the last moment.”