By Liron Katz


I feel obliged to begin by writing, that as far as Shulik and Eli can say: they have never spoken to Yitzhak of his past. He wouldn't talk about his childhood whatsoever.

Therefore, I have based this story on the memories of Toni, concerning his life in Sokal and Gera.

1921 -Yitzhak katz was born on august 9th .
His father Leo Eliezer (born in 1883 in Sokal) and mother Frida Shulamit Tabak (born in 1892 in cknoknick (?) ( Knenicz (Knienicz) ? DA) Poland).

Yitzhak had an older sister Toni (was born in 1919), another sister in which we learn from Toni’s memories, died during WWI from malnutrition and lack of medical care. And a brother died between two world wars.(also known from Toni’s memories) was very sick, probably had meningitis, and when the family moved later on - to Germany, was left with a Polish family to be taken care of until he was well enough to join the family in Gera - Germany. The parents sent money on a regular basis, so he will be taken care of. They have learned later on that their son has died, during the time they were still sending money to the Polish family.

His family, just like most Jewish family of that time was a traditional Jewish family, kept a Jewish home: shabbat, kosher, holidays. They went to the Polish Jews synagogue and didn’t mingle with German Jews.

The family owned a linen store that had enough income to support the family by giving them a comfortable life. They lived in a flat above the store. The family didn't own the flat. According to Sigmund Spiegel, (a friend of the family in which Daniel has interviewed years ago.)

1922 - one year old Yitzhak, accompanied by his mother and sister, immigrated to Germany, to a town named Gera, in Thuringia. His father Leo was already there, arranging the family’s new life.

Yitzhak was educated in the public school system, where he suffered a big amount of racist humiliation. While being a youngster, he had made up his mind promising himself to immigrate to Palestine.

From his sister Toni’s memoriesl, we know that in 1934, Jewish kids could no longer go to school. One can assume that Yitzhak was among those who had to leave the educational system.

(Liron: actually I think he stayed in school longer than Toni. I’m not sure what happened. Maybe what happened is that, according to Spiegel, everybody, including Jews, had to go to middle school, but then Jews were not allowed to go to high school and were forced to stay in middle school. Maybe this is why Toni left - and Ytzhack who was younger stayed maybe another year. I cannot confirm this however. Daniel)

Despite his parents’ wish, 14 year old Yitzhak, started to find his way towards the “Youth Aliyah”.

The Youth Aliyah is a Jewish organization who saved 22,000 Jewish children by helping them to emigrate from the Third Reich to Palestine and other countries.

Recha Freier, wife of a rabbi, started it in 1933. The idea was supported on the world Zionist organization in Prague. Recha Freier ran the organization in Germany, Henrietta Szols in Jerusalem.

1936 - I will add info of Yitzhak aliyah, when I get his docs.

When arriving to Palestine, he was transferred to Shefaya.
(waiting for info and photos from their archive.)

Shefaya- is a youth village, established in 1923 as an orphanage shelter to the WWII orphans (WWI? DA). In1924, it has been diverted to “Young Hadassa” and became a shelter for children.

Degania A-info


1944 (Liron: I believe he joined much earlier, maybe 1941 or 1942 - there are photos from that time already with him in uniform) - Joins the British army. During his service, he was sent to Italy, were he stayed for 4 years.

According to Shulik and Eli, he was helping the Holocaust camp’s survivors, though they don't know what his exact duty was.

After comparing his uniforms as well as having some research, I think that he was driving the survivors to the borders, where there they were taken care of in order to bring them to Palestine.

I will get some more info. It isn’t easy, to find the right trace, but we will get there, and then we will confirm the story.

During his holidays in Palestine, he meets Riva. The two has kept in touch, sending each other photos and letters.

1946 - Yitzhak Katz and Riva Leibovich are getting married.
After the couple got married, Yitzhak is working as a truck driver. (???? - need to search for info. Maybe with Gidon Henkin?)

(Years???)The Israeli army- yitzhak served in the Negev Brigade.

The Negev Brigade (the 12th Brigade, Hativat HaNagev) was an Israeli infantry brigade that served in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. It consisted of four Palmach battalions. The Negev Brigade participated in many operations in the Negev Desert, including Operation Yoav in the latter part of the war.
Outside Be’er Sheva stands Dani Karavan’s sculpture “Monument to the Negev Brigade”, (search and add a photo)
during the Israeli War of Independence

By the time he was released from the military service he was a major.

(Info + years???) “Darom yehuda” & “Egged”: (info? From Nahum Henkin)

Started as a driver. Was a member in Egged management, was in the Egged managers team that build the new buss station in Tel Aviv among other duties in the company.

Egged:was created in 1933 through a merger of four smaller bus cooperatives. In 1951, Egged merged with the northern Shahar bus company and the southern Drom Yehuda bus company, creating a cross-country public transportation network.

After the six day war, Egged merged with the Hamekasher bus company of Jerusalem. The name Egged (lit. Union) was given to the cooperative by the Israeli poet Haim Nachman Biyalik, in reference to the original merger.

During the wars of 1956, 1967 and 1973, Egged buses and drivers helped to reinforce the logistics system of the IDF and drove soldiers and food to the battlefields.

Civil guard police - info from the Rehovot police station also Itzik and Atara.

September 1th 1978 Yitzhak and Riva perished in a car crash while vacationing in France. (The story +the newspaper article.)

This family history project started September 2009.
All photos and documents belong to the author and are © Daniel Abraham, except for maps and where indicated.
Please have the courtesy to ask before copying any content.

This is a work in progress. Please contact me if you have any more information to contribute.

Last Modified: Friday, December 7, 2018