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 Commemorative Page for Chaim and Ahuva Ziegler
     

Ahuva Ziegler of blessed memory (1918 -- 1995)

She was born in the city of Lodz, to a large and wealthy family of the Gur Hasidic branch. She studied at school and a general gymnasium and received a broad education. Unbeknownst to her parents she became active in Bnei Akiva. In the summer prior to her last year in high school she told her parents that she was going to seminary, but in practice she joined the hachshara in Slavkow. All attempts by her parents to get her to return home proved in vain and she stayed at the hachshara until her illegal immigration to the Land of Israel.

 

Chaim Ziegler of blessed memory (1916 -- 2003)

He was born in Sosnovich in southwest Poland to a Hasidic family. As a child he studied in a Heder and at an elementary yeshiva, while at the same time he studied basic general studies at home. Following his bar mitzvah he studied at the Rabbi of Alexander's yeshiva. At that time he was exposed to enlightenment circles and Zionism. He joined Bnei Akiva and was subsequently appointed to head a local branch with 300 members. He went to do hachshara (agricultural training) in Slavkow, and was eventual appointed secretary of the hachshara, he helped determine the character of the hachshara combining torah study and physical labor until he immigrated to the Land of Israel.

 Chaim and Ahuva met at the Slavkow hachshara and set out together for Israel. They were able to receive certificates (legal immigration permits to Palestine) but due to the severe shortage in certificated they relinquished the right to those who were in greater need, and immigrated in the framework of illegal immigration. After many postponements they boarded a rickety freight vessel at the beginning of 1939, that was originally intended to carry coal, and in unfathomable crowded conditions they moved towards the Land of Israel. When the ship made its first dash for the Palestine coast some of the women including Ahuva managed to get down before the British took control of the ship and towed it to the port of Haifa. The ship stayed there over 2 weeks and then it was expelled and in further attempts as well did not manage to penetrate to the coast. In the end results the ship and its passengers were banished and wandered between the ports of Turkey and Greece with the illegal immigrants suffering from hunger and want. Only after half a year's wandering assistance was forthcoming from the Land of Israel.

Ahuva and Chaim with their first born Danny at "their home" in Kfar Etzion (1944)

The ship was equipped and again approached the territorial waters of Palestine. At a distance of about 10 km from the coast and the people were transferred to a sailboat that was intended to reach the shore. The sailboat was too rickety to move, did not manage to reach the shore by night and was captured by the British. Since there was no way to return the immigrants they were transferred to a British barracks and in the end result they were permitted to enter the Land of Israel.

 

After half a year of wanderings Chaim and Ahuva met again in Kvutzat Avraham near Kfar Pines, there they were also married in 1941.

The members of Kvutzat Avraham earned a living from arduous physical labor in the neighboring communities--Chaim in agriculture and Ahuva as a laundress for the matrons in the vicinity's moshavot. At the same timethe the kvutza geared up for moving to a kibbutz of its own, and the decision was made on pioneering settlement in the Hebron hills – kibbutz Kfar Etzion.

Chaim  passed a watchman's course and went up in 1943 with the first group from the Kvutzat Avraham Hachshara to Kfar Etzion.  Ahuva arrived at the start of 1944 with the other women and their first born Danny who was born already at Kvutzat Avraham, and both played an active role in transforming the stony and desolate mountain into a flourishing village and a thing of beauty.

 

Kibbutz member contended with the arduous challenge of conquering the mountain, with its frigid cold as the highest settlement point in the western Land of Israel, and with a water shortage – rain water was the only source. Kfar Etzion was the trailblazer for mountain settlement and pioneered in a hostile and savage environment, detached from any other Jewish community. There was no fence and this required intensive patrolling, a heavy additional burden on kibbutz members.

In the kibbutz' final years, Chaim served as the purchasing agent and treasurer, a post that required frequent trips to Jerusalem. As luck would have it, as part of his job he travelled in the Convoy of the Ten – the first to be attacked after the UN טעות במקור שם כתוב חבר הלאומיםdecision on partition. Only he and Yehuda  Lavi miraculously survived the attack by the murderous gang.

Due to his wound and because of the ties that he established as part of his job as treasurer, Chaim remained in the

Ahuva and Chaim with their children Danny, Akiva and Yossi (1962)

city and organized living quarters and later on food and life's other necessities for the mothers and children who had been evacuated from Kfar Etzion.

The Ziegler family moved with other survivors of the kibbutz via the Ratisbon Monastery and a Petah Tikva school till they found living quarters at Givat Aliyah. Akiva was born during the course of the wanderings and Yossi was born in Givat Aliyah (1954).

The attempt to establish Nir Etzion as a Kibbutz for the Kfar Etzion survivors did not succeed as one could not establish a Kibbutz built on widows and orphans. The kibbutz framework disintegrated and the families, survivors of Kfar Etzion, continued living at Givat Aliyah. A few families shared an apartment, with a single room per family and shared kitchen and toilet facilities.

Chaim began to work in immigrant absorption. A short while later he was appointed director of the (Maabarot) temporary housing facilities for immigrants in Gan Yavneh, and continued on in the Absorption Department, first in the Jewish Agency and later on in the Ministry of Absorption until he took retirement. In years of devoted service he was esteemed by everyone thanks to his probity and boundless concern for the welfare of new immigrants.

To supplement his income he worked for many years as the night editor of the Hazofe daily.

After his retirement he continued to work part time for Adanim bank. From  1956 the couple lived in the Hapoel Hamizrahi housing estate in Tel Aviv.

Ahuva and Chaim were privileged to see their three sons establishing families in Israel, and enjoy grand children and great grand children. They also had the joy to see Kfar Etzion rebuilt, and Danny helping to consolidate the kibbutz in its initial years. All in all they had the privilege of seeing the fulfillment of the Zionist dream that had animated them from the outset of their life together.

    
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