NAME: Yeshurun, Eliyahu

LEHI ALIAS: Natan

DATE OF BIRTH: 1914

DATE OF DEATH: 12.01.2003

Dr. Yeshurun was born in 1914 in Budapest. Like most of Hungary’s Jews, his parents saw themselves as Hungarians of the Mosaic faith. He attended a religious school where he acquired knowledge of Judaism and a deep faith as well, thanks to his teachers. He first heard of Zionism at age six. When his father saw his devotion to the Jewish faith, he signed him up for the rabbinical school in Budapest, where he studied for a decade.

Before age seventeen, he flirted with Communism. As a young adult he attended university, studying history and philosophy, and thus he studied in two institutions simultaneously. In 1938, he completed his doctorate, and later on he received rabbinical ordination. As a student, he dedicated all of his time to Zionism, studying and disseminating it. He was part of the Zionist Youth movement. At age 23, he headed the Maccabiah, and two years later he was a member of the national council of the World Zionist Organization in Hungary. He taught religious studies in various high schools, but after three years he was fired for Zionist activities. Zionism popped up wherever he worked. Luckily, he found a rabbinical position in the Hungarian lowlands that year. His community was ardently Zionist, from the youth to the adults.

In 1944, Dr. Yeshurun was taken to forced labor, but he was miraculously released. His wife and daughter were in Budapest, so he travelled to them. While he was gone, his entire community was exiled. In Budapest, he joined the Vaad Hatzalah, setting up a bunker in an unknown cave in the Buda Mountains for the youth of the movement. The bunker was discovered, but no one was caught. The police were close, but they found refuge with Kaster, who was protected from the Hungarian fascists.

In 1945, he made aliyah with his family, and Dr. Yeshurun immediately went about finding work in Netanya. In January 1948, he joined Lehi. He knew that in order to realize the most beautiful ideas, a gun is sometimes necessary. Most of his activities were in Netanya, among the Hungarian community. He produced promotional materials, recruited adherents and lectured to the youth, among other things. He participated in an ideological course for lecturers in Sheikh Munis, in March-April 1948, led by Eldad. He was arrested after the Bernadotte assassination and sat in Acre Prison for five months.

After the State was establsiehd, Dr. Yeshurun continued to work in his field, teaching history at the Tchernichovsky School. He wrote many books about history in both Hebrew and Hungarian, as well as children’s books. He received an award from the City of Netanya for his contributions to education, culture and society.

Dr. Yeshurun died on 12.1.2003, leaving his wife Tova, three children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

 

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