NAME: Svorai (née Hochglick) Tova


DATE OF BIRTH: December 19, 1915

DATE OF DEATH: April 2, 2013

Tova was born on 29.12.1915 in Warsaw to religious parents. Her father was Mordechai and her mother’s maiden name was Lichtag. They made aliyah in 1924, to Petah Tikva, but they left four years later. Tova studied in the Tarbut School, and in 1930, she joined Beitar.

In 1934, she made aliyah of her own accord. In Haifa, she met Moshe Svorai, the young man who had taken down the Nazi flag from over the German Consulate. In 1937, she joined the IZL. On 6.11.1938, she married Moshe, who was arrested a month later. He was released only on 1.7.1939, a month before their child Herut was born. When the IZL split, they followed Yair and moved to Tel Aviv. Moshe and his comrades were arrested on 25.5.1941, but he escaped on 27.11.1941 with Tova’s help. They moved to the apartment at the top of 8 Mizrahi Bet (now Beit Yair on Avraham Stern Street). On 29.12.1941, Tova hoped that their family would begin a normal life.

However, on 3.1.1942, Moshe walked through the door with the homeless Yair, in order to hide him “for a few days.” However, the “few days” dragged on. On 25.1.1942, Yair told them happily that he had found a place to stay starting on 1.2.1942. However, on 27.1.1942, Morton killed two fighters and injured Moshe and Eliav, who were hospitalized. Yair, naturally, left immediately. However, he returned on 29.1.1942, as he had nowhere else to go. On 30.1.1942, Yair’s picture was everywhere. Tova, who was ill, still took care of him in the apartment, but she sent her daughter to her mother.

Six days before Yair’s murder, his messenger told him that she was being followed. Yair told her not to come anymore. Three days before his murder, when Tova went downstairs at night, she was convinced that a detective she knew was following her, and she warned Yair.

The morning of 12.2.1942, would haunt Tova for the rest of her life. Dawn had barely broken when Yair and Tova were suddenly awoken by a familiar knock. To her shock, Yair’s messenger was there, with an urgent piece of mail, an offer of refuge from the New Zionist Organization. Yair composed a response and a letter to his mother, and the messenger left. After she left, they could hear footsteps on the roof, near the window. A bit later, there was a light knock at the door. Yair ran to the closet to hide. Wilkins and two detectives entered. Within a half-hour, they found Yair’s hiding place. Wilkins reached for his pistol, but Tova jumped in between them and said: “If you want to shoot him, you’ll have to shoot me first.” Two more detectives entered with handcuffs. Tova was taken down to the car. She suddenly heard three shots and called out: “Plainclothes policemen have murdered Yair Stern!” Tova was transferred to the Bethlehem Women’s Prison. Herut stayed with her widowed mother, Leah Hochglick. Her brothers, Tuvia and David, were exiled to Africa in 1944.

Tova was released after four-and-a-half years, at the recommendation of the government medical committee. Tova and Moshe had two more children. Yair and Smadar. In 1978, they were among the founders of the settlement in northern Samaria.

In Marheshvan 5761, Tova and Moshe were awarded the title of “Beloved of Samaria” for their efforts in the settlement of the area.