Thursday, May 05, 2005

Dov Gruner HY"D

Today, the 26th of Nissan, is the yahrzeit of Dov Gruner HY"D.

Before Dov Gruner was hanged by the British in Acre Prison in 1947, he sent this final letter [translated from Hebrew] to Menachem Begin, commander of the Irgun Zvai Leumi:

Sir,

From the bottom of my heart I thank you for the encouragement which you have given me during these fateful days. Be assured that whatever happens I shall not forget the principles of pride, generosity and firmness. I shall know how to uphold my honour, the honour of a Jewish soldier and fighter.

I could have written in high-sounding phrases something like the old Roman 'Duce est pro patria mori', but words are cheap, and skeptics can say 'After all, he had no choice.' And they might even be right. Of course I want to live: who does not? But what pains me, now that the end is so near, is mainly the awareness that I have not succeeded in achieving enough. I too could have said: "Let the future take care of the future.' and meanwhile enjoy life and be contented with the job I was promised on my demobilization. I could even have left the country altogether for a safer life in America, but this would not have satisfied me either as a Jew or as a Zionist.

There are many schools of thought as to how a Jew should choose his way of life. One way is that of the assimilationists who have renounced their Jewishness. There is also another way, the way of those who call themselves 'Zionists' - the way of negotiation and compromise, as if the existence of a nation were but another transaction. They are not prepared to make any sacrifice, and therefore they have to make concessions and accept compromised.

Perhaps this is a means of delaying the end but, in the final analysis, it leads to the ghetto. And let us not forget this:in the ghetto of Warsaw alone, too, there were five hundred thousand Jews.

The only way that seems, to my mind, to be right, is the way of the Irgun Zvai Leumi, the way of courage and daring without renouncing a single inch of our homeland. When political negations prove futile, one must be prepared to fight for our homeland and our freedom. Without them the very existence of out nation is jeopardized, so fight we must with all possible means. This is the only way left to our people in their hour of decision: to stand on our rights, to be ready to fight, even if for some of us this way leads to the gallows. For it is a law of history that only with blood shall a country be redeemed.

I am writing this while awaiting the hangman. This is not a moment at which I can lie, and I swear that if I had to begin my life anew I would have chosen the same way, regardless of the consequences for myself.

Your faithful soldier, Dov.

4 Comments:

At May 5, 2005 at 11:32:00 AM EDT, Blogger Pilot Mom said...

Powerful. Thank you for sharing it.

 
At May 5, 2005 at 3:33:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

probably not a word about this in the Jewish Press

 
At June 20, 2005 at 12:11:00 AM EDT, Blogger mnuez said...

Nu, I did a search for "Dov Gruner" and your site came up loud and clear. Kol HsKavod. Now I'll have a look around...

 
At April 28, 2009 at 11:26:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am related to dov gruner. Can u please email me all the informationa and pictures that you have compiled? Thank you.

 

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