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    The Polish Nobel Laureates series: Menachem Begin

    Menachem Begin, known also as Mieczysław Biegun, was an Israeli politician, founder of Likud and the sixth Prime Minister of Israel. He grew up in Poland and studied at the University of Warsaw. He received the Nobel Prize in 1978 “for the Camp David Agreement, which brought about a negotiated peace between Egypt and Israel”.

    Similar to other young Polish men, he was imprisoned when World War II broke out. Arrested by the NKVD, he ended up in Siberia. A few years’ exile to a Soviet labor camp usually meant slow dying in terrible conditions, backbreaking work, food shortages and constant harassment. However, Begin managed to left the Soviet Union with the Anders Army in 1942. He served in the Free Polish Anders’ Army as a corporal officer cadet. During the Holocaust, Begin’s father was among the 5,000 Brest Jews rounded up by the Nazis at the end of June 1941. Instead of being sent to a forced labor camp, they were shot or drowned in the river. His mother and his elder brother Herzl also were murdered in the Holocaust.

    In 1942, he joined the Irgun (Etzel), an underground Zionist paramilitary organization which had split from the main Jewish military organization, the Haganah, in 1931. Begin assumed the Irgun’s leadership in 1944, determined to force the British government to remove its troops entirely from Palestine. Ultimately, in 1948, by the decision of the United Nations, the independent state of Israel was created, and Begin began a thriving political career.

    He was, at the same time, a controversial leader. Whether he was challenging the British, founding the Likud political party or fighting to end bigotry against Middle Eastern and African Jews in Israeli society, his dedication to his country and his people was boundless. Still, that unwavering commitment could bear untoward consequences. In 1948, as Israel fought for its life as a nation, his role in the tragic Altalena Affair ended in the deaths of 19 Jews and at Deir Yassin, where more than 100 Palestinians died, including women and children, haunted him until the day he died. As Prime Minister of Israel, he made a historic peace deal with Egypt, and he also gave the go-ahead to bomb Saddam Hussein’s Osirak nuclear reactor. (upheavalfilm.com)

    He became the father of the Israeli struggle for independence, and at the same time a symbol of Polish-Jewish cooperation. We encourage the watch the biographical movie about Menachem Begin.

    Check the trailer of the movie below:

    We encourage you to check the rest of the articles regarding the Polish Nobel laureates series:  

    THE POLISH NOBEL LAUREATES SERIES: MARIA SKŁODOWSKA-CURIE

    THE POLISH NOBEL LAUREATES SERIES: HENRYK SIENKIEWICZ

    THE POLISH NOBEL LAUREATES SERIES: ALBERT A. MICHELSON

    THE POLISH NOBEL LAUREATES SERIES: WŁADYSŁAW REYMONT

    THE POLISH NOBEL LAUREATES SERIES: ISIDOR ISAAC RABI

    THE POLISH NOBEL LAUREATES SERIES: TADEUSZ REICHSTEIN

    THE POLISH NOBEL LAUREATES SERIES: ANDRZEJ SCHALLY

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