Dov Grunner:

Dov was one of the commanders of the Irgun and Gladia's brother. The Irgun was a radical Jewish

underground group in Palestine during the 1940s. Their primary mission: Keep Jews safe from Arab

"irregulars" (coined that phrase because they followed Hitler's scheme to rid the world of Jews.) who were

terrorists in the area and also drive the ruling British military out of Palestine so they could establish an

independent Jewish state. The Irgun did the dirty work and were often scorned by the Jewish Agency

leadership. Dov's biggest challenge was keeping his volunteers (many were Holocaust survivors) from

going overboard and killing Arabs and British soldiers outside of battles. As a former WWII Jewish/British

soldier, Dov had unique insights into the British tactics of war.

Dov was born to a religious family in Kisvárda, Hungary, where he attended a yeshiva. He later studied

engineering in Brno. In 1938 he joined the Zionist youth movement Betar, who arranged his passage

to Palestine in 1940 aboard the illegal immigrant ship S.S. Skaria.

After spending six months in the Atlit detainee camp for his "illegal" entry into Palestine to escape the Nazis, he joined the Betar movement in Rosh Pina and became a member of the Irgun. In 1941, he joined the British army to fight against the Nazis, and together with his comrades in the Jewish Brigade came to the aid of Holocaust survivors in Europe.

After Grunner's demobilization from the army, in March 1946, he resumed his activity on behalf of the Irgun and joined its fighting force. He took part in an Irgun operation against an occupational military target to gain access to weapons from a British army depot near Netanya. Ten days later he participated in his second and final operation on behalf of the Irgun - the attack on a Ramat Gan police station. He was severely wounded and initially denied medical treatment. While in prison, he became close with some of his guards, who changed their views after meeting him.

Refusing to partake in his own defense and refusing to co-operate with counsel, he was said to have been offered a commutation on the condition that he admit guilt. He refused to do so and was given a death sentence.

Despite the maximum security of his prison situation, Gruner maintained an irregular correspondence with Irgun headquarters. Among the correspondence between Gruner and headquarters were: His refusal of Irgun assistance with legal counsel (owing to his principled stand regarding non-cooperation with the British court system in Eretz Yisrael), his query whether he should commit suicide in order to make a political statement (the Irgun leadership quickly responded against the initiative) and most famously, what's believed to have been his final letter, shortly before he was to... Sorry you'll have to read his fate in Rebirth.

"Whatever happens I shall not forget the principles of pride, generosity and firmness. I shall know how to uphold my honor, the honor of a Jewish soldier and fighter."