NAME: Shatz, Gershon



DATE OF DEATH: March 17, 1963

Gershon was born in Latvia in 1905. His family was well-off, well-respected and well-integrated in secular society. Gershon was something of a paradox, as he was equally proud of being assimilated and of being a nationalist Jew. In his youth, he studied in Rybinsk, where his parents had moved at the outbreak of World War I. After the war, they moved to Riga, and this is where he studied in Gymnasium and excelled in sports.

In 1923, he met Jabotinsky and joined the first group of Beitar founders. After he was trained, he left his home and his studies in December 1925 to make aliyah. He arrived the next month in Haifa and moved on to Degania. He joined Shomer, then founded the Menora group in Petah Tikva, composed of Beitar members from Latvia. They bore the flag of Hebrew labor, competing with Arab workers. He soon moved with the group to Binyamina. When Jabotinsky visited in 1928, he told him of his idea to establish Beitar work companies, which he would head. In 1930, he went to Lithuania and Poland as an emissary for the idea of Beitar companies. He attended the Beitar world conference in Danzig in 1931. He was the chief officer of Beitar in the Land of Israel. From 1930 to 1932, he was part of the illegal aliyah program via the northern border. He was in the nationalist Hagana and Brit HaBiryonim. He was the Histadrut’s representative (being one of its founders) in the founding Congress of the New Zionist Organization in Vienna in 1930.

When the underground was fighting against the British, he collaborated with Lehi. His house was at its disposal, and its members could stay there. It was even an office and a field hospital — wounded underground members would be transferred there for initial treatment. Natan Yellin-Mor writes in Freedom Fighters of Israel: “So I could meet those in charge of various departments in the underground, I took advantage of the home of Gershon Shatz and his wife Sonia, at 97 King Solomon Street, for quite a while. Their dedication to the underground knew no bounds. They would sometimes keep the wounded in their home, where they would receive the most dedicated treatment. Once a week, the living room became an office, where I could meet those in charge of the various branches and departments.”

Gershon joined the IDF when the State was established.

He was a member of the Order of Jabotinsky, as a member and director of the cinematic wing. His life was dedicated to the idea of establishing a Jewish State and love for the homeland. Cities such as Netanya, Tel Aviv and Ramleh named streets after him.

He passed away on 17.3.1963. He left behind a wife, Sonia née Pochapovsky, whom he had married in 1936, and three children.