Theo was born in Antwerpen, December 26,1925 to Yechiel and Milkha, youngest of five brothers. His Zionist father, third generation of a diamond and jewellery manufacturing family, was active in the Revisionist movement. The Land of Israel stood at the center of the wealthy house Theo grew up in, with cultural treasures, book collections and rare Jewish manuscripts.
He studied at Tachkemoni Jewish school. Aged 14, Germans invaded Belgium. His family escaped, under heavy bombings through refugee filled roads of France. Smuggled through the Pyrenees to Spain, they sailed from Portugal to the US. On arrival they were arrested and after many attempts released. Theo finished school in New York then certified as Electrical Engineer at the University of Southern California. Following the war, returning with his family to Belgium, their house was empty, the atmosphere alienating. He established a Lehi Cell in Belgium 1946, distributed info-material, acquired weapons and smuggled members through European borders. Theo returned to the US 1947, and became editor of Lehi’s publication “Political Horizon”, plus UN affairs reporter for Lehi’s “Hamivrak”, following establishment of the State.
He then made Aliyah; absorption hardships made him return to the US, a move later regretted. He became a wealthy businessman, visiting Israel frequently. During a visit he met Miryam Finkelstein, native born artist. They were married 1963, settled in Haifa, but dreamt of living in Jerusalem. Days after Jerusalem’s liberation 1967, they visited the Old City ruins and immediately decided to settle there. They moved into a small room, no electricity . Later they acquired an estate and built their modern house on it. Archaeological discoveries around their house awoke in Theo questions about what was hidden beneath his house. Despite dangers of the house’s collapse, contrary to archaeologists/engineers’ opinions, through bureaucratic legal struggles lasting several years, they managed to realize their dream and dig four stories beneath their home.
The house’s Jewish past was exposed, with rare findings from the First and Second Temple periods. Now a public museum, they donated the entire eight-story building to the State, for public use, when the day comes.