Eryk, son of Rudolph and Rudolphina Bachrach was born in 1916 in Ostrova, Czechoslovakia. His father died when he was 14. A number of years later, his mother remarried. She married his late father’s brother, his uncle, Endrich Zvi.
Eryk immigrated to Palestine alone, arriving on March 21, 1939 aboard the SS Bessarabia. He settled in Tel Aviv. About a month later, his mother, his 16 year old brother Emil and his step-father joined him.
During WWII, Eryck joined the British Army and was placed with Company 462 of the Transport Corps. He served in Lebanon, Egypt and the Western Desert. When, during the war between the English and the German Forces, the front moved westward, and the danger of the German Forces invading Palestine passed, it was decided to recruit Eryck’s unit to invade Italy. The unit was transported to Alexandria in Egypt, where it was re-equipped, receiving new army vehicles.
On April 29, 1943, after Passover, a convoy of about 30 ships sailed from the port of Alexandria to the island of Malta. At the head of the convoy was the cargo ship “Erinpura” carrying Company 462 on board. Two days later (27 Nissan, 5703), German war planes spotted the ship, bombing it. The “Erinpura” suffered two direct hits and sank within about 4 minutes.
One surviving witness testified about the behavior of the soldiers in the water: “Throughout their combat with the waves they did not lose their spirit, each helping the others to survive. Excellent swimmers showed tremendous bravery-they never stopped swimming to save those who were not such good swimmers, and above the noise, the songs of encouragement were heard.” The Jewish officer who was saved said: “A people who have such outstanding youth among them will never cease to exist.” The British Commander said: “I have never seen such brave soldiers.” 136 of the company died that day at sea and there is no place of burial for them. Eryck Bachrach was among the dead. He was 27 years old at the time.
A memorial in his memory and in the memory of his friends was erected on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem, shaped as a ship at the corner of a pool with shallow water in it, symbolizing the sea. 137 plaques with the names of the fallen soldiers engraved on them were placed around the edges of the pool, (This includes one soldier who died of wounds sustained at sea and was buried in Italy).
Eryck’s mother died of grief a short while after the catastrophe. His brother Emil died on 9 Menachem Av, 5714.
The details of Eryck Bachrach’s life partially appear on the “Yizkor” site of the Ministry of Defense.
The story of his life was researched and completed, and his photograph was found in 2017 by volunteers of “Giving a Face to the Fallen.”