Tuesday, December 29, 2020

"Learn to Shoot"

As Colin Shindler notes in his review of Dan Heller's book on Betar in Poland,

To the youth of Betar, he encouraged them to stand up for themselves and “learn to shoot” – as an educational strategy to raise national esteem. 

 

A 1936 Copy of the Article

In an academic treatment, Arye Naor writes:

...in his article “The New Alphabet,” urged the young to “learn to shoot!” This is the new alphabet, he said: just as one learns to read, now one must learn to shoot. “Each and every generation may have its own alphabet... . The generation being raised as we watch,on whose shoulders responsibility for the greatest turning point in our history will definitely be placed,” must know how to fire a weapon. Now, one should also “know some trade ...and to really be a man one must acquire a general grasp of ‘culture,’ and to be a Jew one must know one’s national language and the national history.” Moreover, he recognized that “A state is not established by gunfire; it is built with spades and hammers, with commerce, sweat, and intelligence.” The current zeitgeist recoiled from militarism: “It is disheartening, very disheartening that at this of all times the Jews must learn how to shoot. But we must, and there’s nothing to gain by disputing a necessity of historical reality.” He continued:

Recognition of historical reality commands us: if you are erudite and also know how to plough the soil and build houses, if all of you speak Hebrew and are knowledgeable in all of our national literature ... but do not know how to shoot, there will be no hope for you. However, if you know how to shoot, there may be hope. This is the language in which the historical reality of our times and that of our children speaks to us... . Of all the conditions for our political renaissance, knowing how to shoot is, regrettably, the most important.

I now came across two photos of the Brith HeChayil Army Veterans organization of th Revisionist Movement displaying a trining session in Warsaw in December 1938, including an ultra-Orthodox Jew illustrating the application of Jabotinsky's exhortation.



and here:


Some other photographs I found:

Braslav

Suwalki


Vilna
 Other training evidence here, and here.

Latvia



UPDATE

From Betar North America



Izzy Herman, 1954





Neversink

And Barak Koffler, instructor, with Chuck Shachna Waxman at left:



^

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