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Captured HeHalutz fighters during Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

HeHalutz (Hebrew: החלוץ‎, lit. The Pioneer) was an association of Jewish youth whose aim was to train its members to settle in the Land of Israel; it became an umbrella organization of the pioneering Zionist youth movements.

HeHalutz was originally a spontaneous, but loose affiliation of Lovers of Zion in the 1880s.

During World War I, HeHalutz branches blossomed across Europe (including Russia), America and Canada. The organization was boosted by strong leadership by, for example, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi (second President of Israel) and David Ben-Gurion (first Prime Minister of Israel) in America, and Joseph Trumpeldor in Russia. At its peak between 1930 and 1935, HeHalutz flourished in 25 countries throughout Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Northern South America.

By the eve of Second World War in 1939, HeHalutz numbered 100,000 members worldwide, with approximately 60,000 having already made aliyah, and with 16,000 members in hakhsharot (training centers) for the pioneering life in the Land of Israel.[1] During the war and German occupation, Jews in some ghettos in Europe established Hechalutz units, as in Lithuania's Šiauliai Ghetto.[2]


  1. ^ Resistance in the Smaller Ghettos of Eastern Europe United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  2. ^ "The Shavli Ghetto". Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
This article incorporates text from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and has been released under the GFDL.