THE BRICHA HOME
Post - War Exodus to Israel
The Bricha (meaning “escape” or “flight”) Movement 1944-1949 was the illegal underground organi zation that helped Jewish Holocaust survivors escape from post Second World War Europe to the region which is now known as Israel. I was born in Kibbutz Alonim in 1944, so actually I am a Pales tinian, born before the State of Israel was established. Both my parents are from Poland, almost all the family died in the Shoa. In my Kibbutz no child had grandparents, so I was convinced that parents had no parents themselves. In September 1945 my father, Zvi Netzner (Melnitzer), was recruited by the Mossad Le'Aliya B to work as head of the Bricha in Poland. He served there until 1948 and returned to the shooting sounds of our Independence War. An article by Miri Nehari.
he activity of the Bricha was initiated by the survivors themselves. Later, emissaries from Israel came to join them and under their leadership, with the help of the British Army Jewish Brigade Soldiers and funded by the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the largest Jewish humanitarian organization in the world, the Bricha operation became an important chapter in the founding of the modern State of Israel. The Bricha Movement – the immigration by land and the Ha'apala Movement – the emigration by sea present together a story of courage and bravery and cunning and love for the Jewish people. The beginning World War II ended on 8 May 1945. All around the world there was great joy, but for Jews there was no joy. They had only now realized the extent of their disaster, the loss, the devastation, the loneliness. They had no family to go back to, no home, no country, maybe no friends and family. Many survivors believed that they were the last to survive, and that the Jewish people were no more. Out of the ashes a phoenix rose, got up and started walking to its ancient homeland. The beginning was led by veterans of the pioneering prewar Zionist youth movements – partisans, and ghetto fighters, and they set the way. Where? – to Eretz Israel. How? – together, supporting each other. Hence the name Bricha.
The journey and the decision to live The journey of Holocaust survivors on the Bricha routes was made in more than one sphere. Before embarking on this long journey, the survivors had to make a choice to live. In the psychological sphere it was a journey of self-rehabilitation, of coping with despair, bereavement and loss. It was a choice to embark on the unknown, knowing that nobody wanted them. They were illegals, who had to travel illegally, cross borders illegally, and fight to enter their country illegally, as the borders of Eretz Israel were closed to them. The journey in the geographic sphere was on the paths of Europe’s routes. The survivors walked in snow, rain or storms. They rode in trains that barely worked, they were transported in lorries covered as if they were cargo. The journey in the family sphere would be the finding of a mate and starting a new family, having children even though they did not yet know how they could provide for the family or where they would live. They made a journey to embrace hope to continue life, to love. In the social sphere there was a journey to rebuild a community, to restore the Jewish culture and this started it in the DP camps. A dramatic chapter of the Bricha people was gathering children from the forests, from hiding holes and monasteries,