It is 40 years since my father’s death.
The country changed drastically, the Country he loved and fought, protected and finally sacrificed his heart over her.
My dad was born to a well-r=to-do Jewish family in Riga, 9th of July 1919. part of twins, his sister Frieda , died on 2011, age 92, it’s funny, they both had temper, and yet, he died young-53, and she went on.
Dad was a staunch Zionist, he was studying to be an electrical engineer, when the Zionist bug bit him, and at first he belong to Beitar, the right-wing Zionist movem,ent, and later switched to the left.
My dad reinvented himself, he didn’t talk about his life in L;atvia.
I had to piece together from my aunt, and my cousin the late Yael Lotan, all there was on the family.
They came from North Russia, fled the Reds, and settle in Riga.
My granddad, Zalman was a failed entrepreneur, he invested in cotton, convinced that cotton craze would last forever. Of course it didn’t.
An unwise move of non insuring his jewelery resulted with the elopement of the nanny, who orchestrated a robbery with her friend the policeman, my granddad, was reduced to a managerial job at Memel, his eldest daughter, Manya, saved the family from utter ruin by opening a successful pharmacy, right after her divorce from a Roumanian Jew.
First lesson my dad taught me was: Don’t be independent, and it’s enough to have one worse merchant in the family.
Also:Our women always came from Mars, the men came from Venus.
My dad was determined to immigrate to Palestine Eretz Israel, or EI.
His parents didn’t, and here, lucky for his two unborn sons, came another element my uncle Dr. Benjamin Eliav, provided another element , our family excelled in-arguments.
He argued for my father’s case for 6 hours and manage successfully to convince them, that:1)Palestine will be good for him, his sister and he would welcome him as if he was their second son(Already had a daughter, second daughter would , come later, in 1946.
Here takes my dad’s story another turning point. During the course of his ship’s route, the war came. The skipper rightfully declined to push further, my father along with his fellow mates, did an act of piracy, took over the ship and forced the skipper to push further on to Haifa.
As soon as the ship arrived, my father and his fellows were arrested as pirates, they were interned art Atlit, but escaped promptly.
My dad started his life as an escaped convict, you could only go up from this point.
He worked on various jobs, became a master of un-paying rent(Easy, take your best suit , put your toothbrush , and claim that you’re on the way to the bank), and after a hiatus as a laborer at the Phosphates Plant, at the Dead sea district, fought in the Israeli army, and from 1949 worked as an electric engineer in the I.M.I.-Isreli Military Industries.
One day he met a girl, on theory this was not the beginning of a 23 years of marriage, to begin with, she as 7 years younger, small to a point of a midget, came from Ukraine, was from a different social standing, during World War II, at 15 she fled, and worked her way to Tashkent, where she managed to do the impossible- survive as a ruthless head of burglars, who stole silk from the Airplane factory , she was employed, and remain a human being. After the war, she bewcame a Zionist, join illegal group , caught by the British, thrown to Cyprus, lied about her age, and came to Isrel six month after in 1947, and worked in the same compound, but at different plant, and the only common ground they shared was on-They loved to learn, my dad was a blue-collar intellectual, and the girl, my mother was ambitious.
In 1950, they were married, she was already an executive , and a liaison between the new immigrants and the manages at the Israeli Defence Ministry.
All this was changed, when she became pregnant, she quit her job, and life was difficult, but she never regretted, she took care of us, and I think she did a good job.
My dad died in 1973, my mother by now switched to a sales manage at real estate and mortgage company refused to marry.
She’s a widow, 87 years old, and she miss him
We miss him, my dad never saw his grandchildren, 4 of them , he never saw his other son become a ph.D., and he never witness the birth of his two great granddaughters.
And his country changed for the worse, and I am sad and grieve for it.