The Hachsharot HeChalutz (Pioneer Training Centers) – the Following Generations
I stand tall before you today with bowed head, at the inauguration of the exhibition about “the Jewish Zionist Hachsharot of the HeChalutz pioneer movement” honoring and commemorating my father, Ehud Herbert Growald, who was one of the leaders of the HeChalutz center in Germany. He was instructor and leader for his companions and trainees, with whom he went from the Hachsharot at Ahrensdorf and Neuendorf to the extermination camp in Auschwitz.
The group of the instructors and former trainees were for me from a young age a symbol, and an example, and an ideal, a living testimony to the sacrifice and the sheer power of will, to fulfill their aspiration from Holocaust to revival. Wonderful people who deserve our appreciation and admiration, for their audacity and courage, their readiness to sacrifice, their sense of friendship, one for all and all for one.
From my early childhood, I became acquainted with all the instructors and trainees who survived the Holocaust, with them and their spouses, and their children. I always had a deep sense of respect and appreciation for them. They for family to me.
This remains so till this very day. We have founded a group of the following generations of these instructors and trainees of the Hachsharot in Germany before and during the World War II. Our group consists of 65 people. Among us are three survivors of the first generation: Paula Stern (99-years-old), Hilde Simcha (98-years-old), Eli Heimann (96-years-old). About two months ago, Esther Bejarano (Kruemel) passed away in Hamburg at the age of 97.
In our association, we deal with collecting information, documentary materials and photographs from the years 1938 until 1947. We also collect the biographies of the survivors and follow their families upon their Aliya (ascendance / immigration) to the land of Israel. They started families and built the country, were active in the education of the following generations. Eli Heimann, who lives in Jerusalem has great-grand-children. Hilde Simcha, who lives in Kibbutz Netzer Sereni, even has great-great-grand-children.
On June 19th 2021, we organized a meeting of the whole group in Kibbutz Netzer Sereni. It was an exceptionally important event, which created great excitement. Shortly before the event, we published a book, a translation from German to Hebrew of Anna Borinski’s (Ora Aloni) memoires, which had been hand-written in German by her in Switzerland, in May 1945 immediately after her liberation. It was printed in German in Kibbutz Maayan Zvi in July 1970.
We created an association called: “Hachsharot HeChalutz – Dor Hemshech” (The HeChalutz Pioneer Training Centers – the Following Generations).
We created a multi lingual internet website:
We further published dozens of pictures and documents in the online encyclopedia which was founded and is managed by Dr. Michael Kuehntopf. We do it with the help of our friend Ari Lipinski, a member of our group.
We have a very large collection of documents. We intend to build a commemoration center and an archive, which will be an educational institution to provide the information and thus to contribute to the commemoration of the tradition of the founding generation. We intend to hopefully set a monument at the gate of Kibbutz Netzer Sereni, which was founded as the “Kibbutz Buchenwald”. It should honor and commemorate the HeChalutz leaders in Germany, the instructors and the trainees of the Jewish Zionist Hachsharot.
We are in the process of translating into Hebrew the exhibition we see here in Berlin, which was designed and created by my dear friend Benno Plassmann, and to bring it to Israel to be placed in Kibbutz Netzer Sereni.
I deeply appreciate the team of the Resistance Museum Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand, Professor Johaness Tuchel, and Dr. Christine Mueller, and my partners Benno Plassmann, Stella Hindemith, and Bettina Leder for making this exhibition possible at this time and at this important and meaningful location.
I highly appreciate and honor the members of “my second family” – the first generation and the following generations of the pioneers of the HeChalutz movement in Germany, the Hachsharot people and their families in whose name I stand here honoring them and their memory, I stand here proudly today, with head held high.
I, Yoav Gad, the son of Ehud and Aliza Growald, pilot of the Israel Air Force since 54 years, together with my wife Nava Gad, and my daughter Zohar Gad, who is about to complete her medicine studies at the Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheba.
Last sentence: yesterday was the 48th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War (of 1973). It was a war which was forced upon us, in which we were attacked by Syria and Egypt with the purpose of exterminating us. I participated in that war. It was a terrible war. A war of survival. We survived and we won. We did not want that war, but we knew to fight back and to learn the lesson from the past – to rely only on ourselves, our lives are in our hands!
Looking back at history we have since achieved reconciliation between Israel and Germany, and later achieved peace with Egypt, Jordan, and other Arab and Muslim countries.
So, I convey to you the message of the universal values of life and peace, which I bring from the people and the land of the Bible.