Uri OIttenheimer

Erich Wolf Ottenheimer

Parents: Yosef and Mina
Birth Date:
Birth PlaceStuttgart, Germany
Death Date
Burial PlaceLahavot Habashan Cemetery

Uri, the first child of Yosef and Mina Ottenheimer, was born on July 7, 1921 ( 27 Tevet, 5681) in Stuttgart, Germany.

His father, Yosef, was from a family of successful merchants from the city of Wittenberg.   He owned a company dealing with wood and wood veneer in Stuttgart, and their financial status before the war was very good.

Uri was a talented athlete in the Maccabi sports club of Stuttgart.  Already at a young age, the Land of Israel was in his heart and mind.  A childhood friend, Dan Mas from Kibbutz Ma’abarot, told of a gathering that was organized in Germany and its theme was "unknown Jewish heroism".  “At the end of the event, Uri approached me – he was still a boy – and he asked me if we too could be heroes when we get to Israel.”

Uri emigrated from Stuttgart on the ship, “Galil”, on the 30th of August, 1937, under the auspices of Youth Aliya. He came to Kibbutz Afikim with the second group of youth that was composed of young men from German - Jewish families.  He was among the more culturally interested and deeply intellectual members of the group. He was orderly and methodical in all areas of his study. He was well-integrated socially in the group.  He was elected to various committees and was active in them.   Despite being immersed in his activities, he was concerned for his family that remained in Germany, and wanted to save them and bring them to Israel.

On June 1, 1940, Uri’s younger brother Betzalel (Franz) (born February 11, 1926) immigrated to Israel, following in his older brother’s footsteps. Uri took care of his brother from the moment that he arrived in the country, and made sure to register him in the Pardes Chana Agricultural High School, and after that in the Kaduri Agricultural High School.

At some point, the parents came for a visit with his younger brother Franz, and tried to arrange their immigration along with their belongings.  They were forced to sell the family business to the Germans and sent their possessions to Palestine, via Italy.  The shipment got stuck in Italy and the parents were not permitted to leave Germany and were unsuccessful in their attempt to immigrate to Israel.  Their attempts to immigrate to North America, where a brother of Mina lived, were unsuccessful and on December 1, 1941, they were sent to Riga concentration camp where they too met their deaths, the mother in spring of 1942, and the father in 1944.  Other family members, among them the grandfather and uncles, were murdered in the Holocaust as well.

After a period of time working in the kibbutzim Mishmar HaEmek and Merchavia, Uri arrived in the settlement of Karkur.  There, a small group was formed to create a new settlement called Lehavot, which later became Kibbutz Lehavot HaBashan, in the                  Upper Galilee.  In a letter written during his first days in Karkur, he wrote, “Already two or three days have passed, and it feels as if we have been here for weeks. The place is so familiar, that it is as if we have always lived here. Much has occurred here in these two days because every little thing here is an important event and worth appreciating.”

Uri continued to be active in many areas of the new kibbutz. He set up the housing and work facilities thanks to his expertise in carpentry.

One of his friends said of him, “Your energy did not cease upon the completion of daily tasks, and with your initiative, our independent factory was established.  Whenever I saw you, you were immersed in new innovations and inventions.” And in addition, “You were always formulating ideas and plans.  Whenever I dropped in to your room, which represented the fruits of your hard labor, I was amazed at your aesthetic talents.”

Uri applied for an official name-change from Erich Ottenheimer to Uri Eitan.  The authorization for the name-change was published in the official gazette of the Palestinian Mandate on October 10,1946 (almost a year after he fell).

On November 26,1945, (21 Kislev, 2506), in light of anti-British terrorist activities carried out by the Jewish Resistance Movement (October 1945-August 1946), the British military and police forces surrounded Kibbutz Givat Chaim. The police commander summoned the head of the kibbutz and told him that the footprints of the terrorists who destroyed the British-controlled Givat Olga police station led to Kibbutz Givat Chaim, and that the police intended to set up an identification line-up of all the members of the kibbutz.  Immediately signals were sent to the surrounding area and many Jews began to converge on Kibbutz Givat Chaim from all directions.  The British army began negotiations with the kibbutz members, and when their demands were refused, they burst into the kibbutz.  In the meantime, men and women from settlements in the surrounding areas advanced from the direction of Kibbutz Ein HaChoresh to Givat Chaim.  An officer from the British tank convoy commanded them to stop, but they continued on their way, running and falling, standing up and continuing to run.  Uri was also among the runners. He fell, mortally wounded, beside the fence of Givat Chaim, was removed from the field of fire, and transferred to hospital in Hadera, where he underwent surgery and died at age 24.

Uri was survived by his partner, Tamar.  Tamar eventually married and had two children, a son, named Betzalel (in memory of the brother of Uri) and a daughter named Dina Orit (in memory of Uri).

A childhood friend wrote in his memory, “Uri, the young man, clear of mind and strong of body….experienced evil in his youth in the faraway fields of Europe.  He was a friend in the days of our immigration to this country, and was a brother throughout our efforts to establish a new life. He was a friend to many and was a partner throughout the hardships of creating the kibbutz. He created with his hands and his brain the settlement on the land of the Galilee.  He had intense love for every color, every flickering light and every emerging sound.  And he overcame the evil life of enemy troops in order to establish a chance of a second life for those of his brethren who had been saved.”  Kibbutz Lehavot HaBashan published a booklet in memory of Uri. 

His brother, Betzalel Eitan (Ottenheimer), fell in the defense of Kibbutz Nirim on  May 15, 1948.

In memory of the family, “Stolpersteine” were placed in memory of his father and his mother, in the sidewalk beside the family home in Stuttgart, on April 29, 2010.

The life story of Uri Eitan (Ottenheimer) appears in part in the Yizkor memorial website of the Israeli Defense Ministry.

Missing details of his life were completed in 2017 by researchers of Latet Panim LaNoflim ("Giving a Face to the Fallen").

 

תרמו לחקר:

Yoram Igael, volunteer researcher, "Giving a Face to the Fallen"

Chaya  Dagan, Archives of Kibbutz Lehavot HaBashan

David Lev, Archives of Kibbutz Nirim

Archives of Kibbutz Afikim

Israel State Archive

General Zionist Archive

Aviva Schwartz, family member

“Stolpersteine of Stuttgart “

Ellen and Armin Holtz, Germany



המידע המופיע באתר, מבוסס על חקר שנערך על ידי מתנדבי 'לתת פנים לנופלים', נשמח להוסיף כל בדל מידע, מסמך או תמונה אשר יכולים להרחיב את סיפור חייו וקורות משפחתו.
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