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Persons >> Hans Beyth 1901–1947

Hans Beyth 1901–1947

The right hand of Henrietta Szold and Youth Aliyah director 1945-47

Born in Bleicherode, Germany. Hans Beyth developed Zionist leanings while still an adolescent and drew close to Zionist pioneers who were training in Wolfenbütel. After the Nazis came to power in Germany, he pledged himself to the rescue of Jewish youth. Initially he worked as a volunteer for the administration of the Jüdische Jugendhilfe (a relief association for Jewish youth); afterwards, he undertook organizational and financial responsibilities for an institution for the rescue of Jewish children in Harlingen, which subsequently served as a Youth Aliyah center.

In May 1935, Beyth resettled in Eretz Israel as the representative of Youth Aliyah in Germany. From then on, he was Henrietta Szold’s loyal aide. He had a hand in all branches of the enterprise: visiting children in DP camps in Europe and detention camps on Cyprus, welcoming them once they reached Eretz Israel, overseeing their integration in kibbutzim and moshavim (cooperative villages) around the country, inviting them for personal talks in his Jerusalem office and at his home, and minding their vocational and personal advancement.

When Henrietta Szold died in early 1945, Hans Beyth took over as head of Youth Aliyah and remained in this post for approximately three years.

On December 26, 1947, Beyth, together with two members of the Jewish Agency Executive, Golda Meir and Yitzhak Gruenbaum, set out from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Their convoy was attacked at Latrun and again at Castel, where Beyth drew a handgun and fired at the attackers. As he did so, he was struck in the head and died on the spot. Youth Aliyah was in charge of more than 10,000 youngsters at the time.
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