NAME: Verkshtal Frieda nee Berlin


DATE OF BIRTH: November 3, 1021

Frieda was born  November 3,1921 in Vilnius  Poland, only daughter of Zelig and Adela. Her Observant father was partner in the family bank. Educated in a Polish school, aged 12 she joined “Messada” Revisionist Youth. She continued studying at the Jewish High-School and later  Biology at University.

Communist Russia invaded Vilnius 1939: her father lost the bank to the authorities and was blacklisted as “People’s Enemy” . When the Nazis invaded, 1941, he received the death penalty. Frieda and her ill mother were sent to the Ghetto. To earn for survival Freida assisted Polish friends outside the Ghetto. During the Ghetto’s liquidation, September 1943, her mother was killed by a Nazi soldier, Frieda sent to labour camp in Riga.

Transferred between twelve  camps, she was liberated by the Americans at Dachau, May 1945. In Munich she contacted the Jewish Brigade and assisted Jewish children in making Aliyah. Relatives from Mexico sent visas for Mexico and Australia, but  love of the Land made her choose  Israel. Stowing  away in a cargo ship at Barcelona, she reached Israel. She was eager to combat the British enemy preventing  Jews’ return to their homeland, despite the Holocaust; therefore she joined  Lehi. She underwent  weapons training  and participated in different operations, including acquisition operations in Barclay’s Bank, raiding  the Red Berets’ Camp on Yarkon St. Tel-Aviv, and  the attack on the Haifa Railways  Workshops. Eleven men were killed there. Frieda was captured with 19  men, 4 women. All were sentenced to life imprisonment.

Freida was jailed at Bethlehem Women’s Prison. She took care of seriously injured prisoners there and studied Hebrew. December 1947, transferred to Atlit Prison, she met Gabriel. On May 5,1948 she escaped with three  Lehi girls from house arrest  (Petah-Tikva) and  began work at Lehi’s “Hamivrak” publication. After establishment of the State, she joined the IDF  serving  with Gabriel in the 82nd Battalion, 8th Brigade. They were married October 1,1948 –  the State’s first military wedding. She was transferred to the Paramedic Corps, working in preventative therapy.

After discharge Freida worked accounting and studied painting and sculpting. Frieda has two children and four grandchildren.