Hershel Tzvi Last was a hero of two wars. The first was a daily struggle for survival. The second, the battle for Israeli independence. Sadly he didn't survive the latter. Link to original.
Hershel Tzvi, my 4th cousin twice removed, was listed in the Lukow, Poland, Book of Residents as Herszko (the Polish version of his name), born June 3, 1924 (not Sept 9, 1925 as noted here...I don't know the reason for the discrepancy). His mother and three younger siblings were killed by the Nazis either in the Lukow Ghetto or at the Treblinka death camp. Hershel Tzvi survived the war in the forests with his father Isser and four 1st cousins. His twin sister Jospa/Yosefa was hidden by nuns and also survived the war.
Son of Miriam Bracha and Isser, was born on 14th Elul (September 9th `1925) in the town of Lukov in Poland.
In 1940 he was sent, along with his father and all the local men, to work in a Nazi labor camp.
When the order for the extermination of all Jews in the area was issued, Zvi escaped along with his entire family into the forest. Seven months later, his mother, his brothers and sisters with him were captured by the Germans and after a limited number of days in detention they were all executed. Out of intense desperation, Zvi attacked the Gestapo representative who came to execute him, knocking the gun from his hand and together with his cousins fled back into the forest and met up once again with his father.
Until 1944 they lived in the forest and participated in battles fought by the partisans. After being freed by the Red Army, Zvi joined it's ranks and also participated in the battle to occupy Berlin.
After the war, the surviving remnants of the family decided to immigrate to Israel and left for Germany their first station on their way to Israel. Two and a half years were spent in camps in Germany and only in 1948 did they manage to finally get to Israel.
On his arrival he joined the Israel Defense Forces, fought in the battle for Jerusalem and fell on the twenty-fifth of Kislev Independence (12/27/1948) in an exchange of fire on Mount Zion. He was buried on 8th of Adar B.
On the seventeenth Sivan (21/06/1951) his body was laid to rest at the military cemetery on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.
(This page is part of the National Commemoration “Yizkor”, held under the auspices of the Ministry of Defense)