NAME: Shpilman Anshel



DATE OF DEATH: May 13, 1994

Anshel was born in 1917 in Zofiówka, Poland to Leib and Raizel. The home was warm and Zionist, and he was inculcated with a love for the Land of Israel. He studied in a yeshiva and then in a public school in Łuck, but he had to return home because he had no way to support himself. At age fifteen, he joined Maccabi, and he participated in courses for instructors in Łuck in 1936-1937. He then joined the nationalist cells of the IZL. He organized and participated in the commanders’ course and the lieutenants’ course in Zofiówka in 1938-1939. He soon became the regional commander for the IZL in Łuck, and he was involved in all the activities, including Yair’s plan to assemble forty thousand to conquer the Land of Israel from the British, which was abandoned when World War II began. With some friends, they snuck across the border eastward, but they were captured by the Soviets. A bribe and forged visas got them out, and they reached Turkey in 1940.

This was when they learned of the split, and most followed Yair to Lehi. They finally made it, and Anshel dedicated himself fully to the underground. After the murder of Yair and others, a large part of the responsibility to keep Lehi going fell on his shoulders. The reorganization under Yitzhak Shamir in 1943-1944 put Anshel in charge of the Tel Avi region. He became involved in all manner of operations, becoming one of the central figures in the movement. He was responsible for the publication of Lehi’s periodical, HeHazit. In March 1944, he was tried and convicted and sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment for weapons possession and membership in an illegal organization. At his trial, he gave an impassioned speech in which he argued that the guilt and illegality lay with the Mandatory authorities, who had no right to judge him.

He fled in October 1947 from the Jerusalem Central Prison, returned to activity, and became part of Lehi’s organizational core. Once the State was established, he was active in creating the Fighters’ Party. Professionally, he went into publishing and worked at Elisha Press and Mizrahi Press.

In 1951, he married Dora Scheinman, a Holocaust survivor, and they had two daughters, Sarah and Hannah. For twenty years, he ran the Galit Pool. At the same time, he dedicated himself to commemorating and memorializing Lehi’s legacy, its fallen, and its memoirs. He was one of the founders of Beit Yair, of the Freedom Fighters of Israel Heritage Association, of the Lehi Museum and the Lehi Archive (recognized by the Ministry of Defense) of Yair Press and of the scholarship fund in his memory, and more. Anshel ran these until his death. While he was ill and fighting for his life, he had to fight a long and exhausting libel case.

Anshel passed away on 13.5.1994, “with the flag of Lehi’s legacy in his hand” (as Yitzhak Shamir put it in his eulogy).