Zvi Zimmerman

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Zvi Zimmerman
Date of birth2 January 1913
Place of birthSkala, Austria-Hungary
Year of aliyah1944
Date of death10 June 2006(2006-06-10) (aged 93)
Knessets4, 5, 6, 7
Faction represented in Knesset
1959–1961General Zionists
1961–1965Liberal Party
1965–1974Gahal

Zvi Henryk Zimmerman (Hebrew: צבי הנריק צימרמן‎, born 2 January 1913, died 10 June 2006) was a Zionist activist, jurist, and Israeli politician. He is also known for his cooperation with Henryk Sławik to save Jews during the Holocaust.

Biography[edit]

Zimmerman was born in 1913 in Skala-Podilska in Austria-Hungary (today in Ukraine), the son of Benjamin (Alter) Zimmerman and Zlata Pessia (Babe) Bitterman. He attended a secular high school and studied law at the Jagiellonian University. At the age of thirteen he became a devoted Zionist. He was a member of the Youth Movement of the General Zionists, Chairman of Kedima (the Zionist Student Union in Kraków) and Deputy Chairman of Kedima's national organization, and Deputy Chairman of the Zionist University Graduates.[1]

He spent most of the war in the Kraków Ghetto. In the spring of 1943, after the ghetto was liquidated, he was taken to the Plaszow camp. He escaped and made his way to Budapest in October 1943. There, he met Dr. Henryk Sławik, the leader of the Polish Civic Committee for Relief for Refugees. The Polish government in exile (based in London) authorized the cooperation, which was possible thanks to the help of the Hungarian authorities - including Dr. József Antall Sr. (the father of future prime minister of Hungary József Antall), the head of Department IX of the Ministry of Interior Affairs (responsible for refugees of all nations), and Countess Szapary. Sławik provided Zimmerman a stamp with which he confirmed documents and forms the refugees had to fill out and then submitted them to Sławik. Along with the official stamp of the Polish Civic Committee, this signature on an official form enabled Polish Jews to obtain "Aryan" passports.[2] About 14,000 Jews were thus saved.[3]

In 1944 he immigrated to Palestine. From 1951 to 1959 he was a member of the Haifa City Council. In 1959, he was elected to the Fourth Knesset for the General Zionists (which later merged into the Liberal Party), and was a member of the Internal Affairs and House Committees. He was re-elected to the next three Knessets for Gahal and served on the Labor-Welfare and Finance Committees. In the Seventh Knesset he was Deputy Speaker of the Knesset. From 1983 to 1986 he served as Israel's ambassador to New Zealand.[1] In 1961 he testified as a witness in the trial of Adolf Eichmann.[4]

After his term in Wellington ended, he returned to Israel. Following the fall of the Iron Curtain, he decided to visit Poland and Hungary in order to pay back his debt to Sławik and Antall. he found out that Sławik was tortured, and killed by the Nazis. Sławik never told the Germans about his cooperation with Antall, who died in 1974. He published an announcement on the Cracow Przekrój weekly and has thus contacted Sławik's daughter.[5] Thanks to Zimmerman's efforts, Sławik was awarded the Righteous Among the Nations title by Yad Vashem in 1992.[2]

Zimmerman died on 10 June 2006.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Zimmermann, Zvi (1994). Between the hammer of the Knesset and the anvil of the Party (in Hebrew). Tel-Aviv: HaMakhon LeHeker HaKalkalah VeHaHevrah BeYisrael Al-shem Yosef Sapir. ISBN 978-965-222-508-5.
  • Zimmermann, Henryk Zvi (2004). I Have Survived, I Remember, I am a Witness. .: Kotarot. p. 278. ISBN 965-7238-14-5.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Zvi Henryk Zimmerman". Skala Research Group. Retrieved 2008-05-20.
  2. ^ a b Zimmermann, Henryk Zvi. "Dr. Slawik - Was He a Polish Raoul Wallenberg?". Retrieved 2008-05-20.
  3. ^ "A Documentary to memoralize the heroic life of Dr. Henryk Slawik: The Polish Raoul Wallenberg, in the making". New Cracow Friendship Society Newsletter. Nov./Dec. 2002 (235). Retrieved 2008-05-20.
  4. ^ "Eichmann trial - The District Court Sessions". The Nizkor Project. Retrieved 2008-05-20.
  5. ^ "Unsung Hero". Warsaw Voice. 2004-01-28. Retrieved 2008-05-20.

External links[edit]