Marek’s Story: Chapter 5

Chapter 5

As the war ended and Marek had time to rest and think, the pain of losing his family became real and sharp. In July of 1945, he decided to return to his hometown of Lvov. On his way back, he tried to visit all of the people who had helped and supported him through his travels in Italy.

When Marek arrived back in Lvov, he found that his Uncle Moshe and Aunt Hela had also returned. They had spent the war years deep in the Soviet Union, and survived. They were the only other members of Marek’s large extended family who returned.

Marek stayed in Lvov for six months, but life was very difficult. With the encouragement of Uncle Moshe, Marek decided to join a group of other young Jewish survivors who were part of the Dror youth movement. They were preparing to make aliyah and move to the place they considered the ancient Jewish homeland, which was in an area then known as the Mandate for Palestine.

Testimony: “Aliya

“I had no future in Poland.”

—Marek Herman

Marek became very involved with helping other survivors. He traveled to Germany to teach children in a Displaced Persons (DP) Camp, and then used his Italian language skills to serve as a guide for people secretly traveling from Europe to the Mandate for Palestine through the Italian Alps. In 1947, he also joined the Haganah to help train other young people in Italy as soldiers so they could participate in the war to establish the State of Israel, which was declared independent in May of 1948.

Marek (middle row, second from the right) after the war, with the other survivors in the Dror youth movement.

Marek (middle row, second from the right) after the war, with the other survivors in the Dror youth movement.

Marek in Israel, 1949.

Marek in Israel, 1949.

When Marek was finally able to immigrate to Israel in 1948, he immediately joined the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). He served in the Israeli army until 1950, and then settled down to live in a special community, called a kibbutz. He was a founder of the Ghetto Fighters’ Kibbutz. Over the years, he continued to visit his friends in Italy and stayed in touch with his fellow partisans, always thankful to them for all their help during the war.

Marek, his wife Rivka, and their children, on the kibbutz.

Marek, his wife Rivka, and their children, on the kibbutz.

Chapter 5



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