03 May 2018
The Jewish Heart Will Never be Silent
“Of Course I want to Live, Who Does Not?”
This is the story of Dov Gruner, given over by Im Tirtzu.
As we can see, the Voice of the Jewish heart will never be silent. No matter the era in our history.
Dov was born in Hungary in 1912 and immigrated to the Land of Israel in 1940 with the Betar youth movement after his engineering studies were cut short due to the Nazi invasion.
In 1941, Dov joined the British army and fought on the front lines in Italy. After the war he went to provide help to the survivors of the camps – he even gave his own shoes away, writing in one of his letters, “At least now one survivor will not be barefoot.”
After Dov finished his service in the British army in 1946, he joined the Irgun (Etzel). During one of the operations, Dov was wounded and taken captive by the British. When told by the court that if he recognized the British rule and pleaded guilty, his death sentence would be revoked, he replied: “I do not recognize your authority to try me. This court has no legal foundation, since it was appointed by a regime without legal foundation...”
After the court sentenced Dov to death, he stood up and declared: "In blood and fire Judea fell, in blood and fire Judea will rise again.” He was hanged on April 16, 1947.
"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...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...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 exact same path, regardless of the consequences for myself."
-- Excerpt from a letter sent by Dov to the Irgun Commander in Chief, Menachem Begin.