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Ruth Aliav (Kluger)

(1914 - 1980)

ALIAV (Kluger), RUTH (1914–1980), the only female member of Mosad Le-Aliyah Bet, the organization which saved Jews from the Holocaust by smuggling them into Ereẓ Israel, in defiance of the restrictions on immigration imposed by the Mandatory Government (see "Illegal" *Immigration ). The name Aliav, given to her by David Ben-Gurion, is an anagram of Aliyah Bet.

Aliav was born in Kiev; her family later settled in Czernowitz, Romania. She immigrated to Ereẓ Israel in 1934 and settled with her husband on a kibbutz. She was one of the founding members of the Mosad and in 1939 returned to Romania to organize the escape of Jews and their illegal immigration to Ereẓ Israel. In 1941, when further rescue work became impossible, she fled to Turkey from which she proceeded to Egypt to continue her rescue activities in bringing Jews from Arab countries.

From 1942 to 1945 she worked closely with the French and Dutch Resistance movements in Europe, became a colonel in the *Haganah , and was appointed by David Ben-Gurion as the only official Israeli representative in Europe. She was the first woman to enter the concentration camps upon their liberation. She continued her activities until 1947, serving directly under Ben-Gurion.

In 1947 she was awarded the Croix de la Lorraine by General de Gaulle, and the Legion d'Honneur of France. After the establishment of the State of Israel she headed the public relations and press department of Zim, the Israeli Navigation Company which evolved out of the "Illegal Immigration" ships of the Haganah; was the Israeli president of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women; and was honorary life president of the International Public Relations Associations. Her book, The Last Escape, is a dramatic account of her two years' activity in Romania.

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.