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Holocaust Resistance: The Last Days of the Zionist Youth Movement in Germany

(March 1942)

Report on Scouts’ Day


Young Maccabi – Union of Scouts

Troop Emuna [Faith]

Berlin, March 1942


To our Members in the Countries of the Diaspora and in the Land of Israel,

Even though we do not know whether, in fact, this letter will ever reach you, we will write it in the hope that at least one of us will remain alive and hand it over to you when the day comes.

It is already a few weeks since our troop discussed the approaching Scouts’ Day. Shall we be able to celebrate it in the accustomed manner this year, too? For we are living in very difficult times. Many of our members are no longer with us. They have already been taken to Poland, a place where an unknown fate awaits them. But the Jewish Scout is told never to despair, and we are therefore determined that, despite everything, we shall meet this year, to honor this special day. We therefore met on that Wednesday afternoon in one of the classrooms of the school in Wilsnacker Street. Despite the danger involved almost all came in their white shirts (under jackets), and there was an atmosphere of high spirits and joy in the room. We had gathered together all the Jewish scouts who still remained in Berlin, boys and girls, about 50 altogether, from all circles. As guests of honor we had Herbert Growald and Fanny Bergas, from the Hakhshara [training] Kibbutz at Neuendorf, and also Alfred Selbiger, a member of the Movement’s leadership. We sat in a big circle, and the room echoed to the sound of our singing "Be Prepared..." and all the other songs. The candles flickered gaily and the members looked into the flames.

After that one of our members, Mary Simon, read us a story about trees and plants in our Jewish Homeland which made us forget the dangers and the sorrows. After that we sang again, and several poems were read... We stood to attention to sing the anthem of the Movement. When we unfolded the flag after that – which we had kept with us despite all the danger – we gave the Scouts’ salute and sang the song of the flag: "Carry it to Zion, the Banner and the Flag"...then one of our members, Erwin Tichauer, stepped forward – at first we had no idea what he was about to do – and read to his group the names of all those who had been taken from us during the past months, since the deportations had begun, and as he read each name the members replied as one: "Here," that is to say, that even those who were missing were with us on this occasion, for we are always with them in our thoughts, just as they are surely with us in their thoughts....

At this difficult time we send our good wishes to all of you, outside. Do not forget us, just as we will not forget you – those already living in the Land of Israel and building our future, and those who are living a free life in other countries. We will all be united in spirit until the day comes when we can once more all be together. We send our good wishes and send you Shalom! Be of good courage!

Sources: Y. Schwersenz, Mahteret Halutzim be-Germanya Hanazit ("Pioneer Underground in Nazi Germany"), Tel Aviv, 1969, pp. 55-57.