NAME: Furstenberg, Ephraim

LEHI ALIAS: Piska

DATE OF BIRTH: 1922

DATE FALLEN: 17.3.1954

Ephraim was born in 1922 in Kutno, Poland. His parents were older when he was born. Tzvi was a merchant, active in the Mizrahi Movement and ordained as a rabbi; Yokheved was active in the Progressive Zionist Movement. The family, with its seven children, made aliyah in 1928 for Zionist reasons. At first, they lived in Jaffa, then Tel Aviv. The father learned construction, and his children, including Ephraim, combined with studies and construction work.

Under his father’s influence, Ephraim studied in the Tachkemoni School, and in parallel he was educated and was active in the HaShomer HaTza’ir Movement in Tel Aviv, and was a member of the Noar HaPoel. His instructors quickly discovered his leadership abilities and made him a leader in his own right.

At age seventeen, he enlisted in the British Army and served in the Hebrew drivers’ brigade within it. He was stationed in Libya and participated in the Battle of el-Alamein and the siege of Tobruk. When he returned, he became a Hagana activist and helped those making illegal aliyah on the shores of Tel Aviv. However, he grew disillusioned and moved on to Lehi.

He served in the underground as a cabdriver. His dispatcher was at the Hashmona’im station, on the corner of that street and King George V Street. His taxi was always at Lehi’s disposal.

His home was also a Lehi base. Ephraim and his wife, Hannah née Greenholtz, used their home at 3 Basel Street in Tel Aviv for a command center and even a radio station. When Blond Dov was wanted by the British, he was brought by taxi to there, straight from the operating room in Hadassah Hospital. He stayed in their home until he recovered. Young Hayimke, Ephraim and Hannah’s young son, was often a “cover” for various activities.

After the Bernadotte assassination, Ephraim was arrested with other Lehi operatives and imprisoned in Acre. When he was released, he went back to his job as a cabdriver. However, his Lehi past made it hard to find work. The Hagana confiscated the taxi that was their main source of income, and when Ephraim wanted to join Egged, the heads of the cooperative were hostile. Still, he eventually found employment there.

In 1954, as an Egged member, he was travelling down to Eilat with his family. The city was set to celebrate the fifth anniversary of its liberation. On 17.3.1954, as they returned, fedayeen attacked the bus at Maaleh Akrabim. Virtually everyone on the bus was killed, including Ephraim and Hannah.

Hayimke was mortally wounded, and remained mentally and physically paralyzed for thirty-two years until he died in 1986.

Miraleh was saved by a soldier who shielded her with his body.

Baby Zipporah stayed with her grandmother and was saved.

Miraleh had three children and two grandchildren, Zipporah two children.

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