NAME: Tavori (Blitstein) Tzvi



DATE OF DEATH: June 8, 1992

Tzvi, son of Shaul and Rachel Blitstein, was born in 1922, in Zofiówka, Volyn, Poland (now Ukraine). He studied in cheder, then with private tutors. At age sixteen, he joined Beitar and became an instructor. In 1939, he joined the IZL in Poland, and he was sent to a course where he distinguished himself, earning himself the rank of lieutenant. He was one of the notable instructors, and he became an IZL commander of a branch in Lithuania.

When World War II began, he set out with some of his friends to make aliyah. After much wandering and travel through the Soviet Union, they made it, with forged papers. They were arrested by the British on arrival, and they were sent to Atlit. Tzvi expressed his desire to enlist in the Polish Army, which was then stationed in the country, and he was released. However, he defected from the Polish Army immediately and joined Lehi. He worked with Yitzhak Shamir, who had fled from the Mizra detention camp, organizing the underground, and for a time Tzvi was even his bodyguard.

On 2.3.1944, he was seized while asleep in an apartment in Bat Yam. He had a loaded pistol in his possession, and he was put on trial. This was the first opportunity for an underground agent to defy the authority of the British court to judge him. Inter alia, he stated: “I admit that I had a pistol in my possession, but I refute the charge that did I so illegally. I was granted a license by the only authority I recognize in the Land of Israel, the Hebrew freedom fighters’ movement, which seeks to return to the Nation of Israel its proper standing among the nations, in a Jewish State in this land. Your Mandate, granted to you to establish a Jewish State her, has become one of imperialistic occupation. Your laws are illegal.” He delivered this speech before a courtroom packed with journalists, and it echoed throughout the country and the world. Tzvi was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment, which he served in Jerusalem and Acre. In prison, his health deteriorated.

When the State was established, he joined the IDF. He met Sarah Deitch, who had come from France, marrying her in June 1949. After his demobilization, he had trouble finding work, so they went to France to try their luck there. They then moved to the United States, where Tzvi sold women’s wallets. They had two daughters, Rachel and Sylvia, and a son, Michael. He always dreamed of returning to the homeland, but his hopes were dashed when he found out he had cancer.

Tzvi died on 8.6.1992, 7 Sivan 5752. Per his request, his body was flown back to Israel and buried in the Lehi section of the Holon Cemetery.