Yosef was born in 1922 to his parents Yitzhak and Miriam in Karlsruhe, Germany. They had six children. The family was religious and Zionist. Yosef studied in a German public school and had a private tutor, a melamed, for Jewish studies. The father was a merchant. In 1933, the Nazis arrested his father, and he was only able to secure his release through his German friends. He made aliyah alone the same year. After getting certificates for the rest of his family, they made aliyah legally in 1934, settling in Tel Aviv. The father worked as construction supervisor.
Yosef studied in the Tel Nordau elementary school and the Atid high school at night. By day, he worked in the bank to help support his family. He was active in the Hagana for a bit.
In 1942, he enlisted in the British Army, serving in Egypt in the Air Force, until he was demobilized in 1946.
On the recommendation of a female acquaintance, he joined Lehi in 1946. His parents did not know about this, and he hid this from his siblings, who were Hagana members. In Lehi, he worked in intelligence (Dept. 6), and in the operations division. He surveilled and gathered information. He worked for a time as a driver for a British import-export firm, and his comrades in Lehi seized two shipments of cigarettes from it. He was active in Sheikh Munis, in the Lehi camp, transporting food and equipment to besieged Jerusalem by Jeep on the Burma Road. These caravans were often attacked by Arabs, and they had to hide behind rocks to take cover until the shooting ended.
On 29.5.1948, he joined the IDF’s 8th Brigade with other Lehi members, and he was in the camp at Tel Litwinsky. A few days later, he volunteered to bring equipment and supplies to the Lehi camp in Jerusalem. One time, Hagana men stopped them and they were sent to Jaffa Prison for two weeks. The day they were released, a new hunt for Lehi members began, after the Bernadotte assassination. Yosef hid at his brother’s house in Haifa. He eventually went back to the IDF, joining the Navy, and he became the driver for the Bat Galim camp commander. He was demobilized in 1949.
Afterwards, he was a driving instructor. Then he worked at the American Embassy, as a technical advisor for the Marshall Plan. When the project was done, upon the recommendation of the American Embassy staff, he worked for the Austrian Embassy for five years. He then returned to the American Embassy as an aide to the security officer. One of his jobs was interviewing those applying for work at the Embassy. After 28 years there, he retired in 1987.
For five years, he volunteered for Yad Sarah, transporting the disabled and ill for treatment. He still volunteers to this day at the Tel Aviv Municipality Welfare Department, helping those in need.
In 1951, he married Ruth Halperin, a nurse. They have two sons.
Yosef is a fan of classical music.