Yekutiel-Shaul (known as Shaul or Saul), son of Yosef-David and Sima-Doba Urbach, was born on May 20, 1921 (12th day of the Hebrew month of Adar 5681) in the city of Kielce, Poland [in this city 47 Holocaust survivors were murdered in a pogrom in July 1946]. He was the first-born and brother to Rafael-Fishel, Avraham-Zvi-Hersh, Gita-Frieda, Nachum-Mordecai, Rachel-Golda, Leah-Feiga and Sarah.
The Urbach family was affluent and proud of its Jewishness. In 1939, Shaul travelled to Mandatory Palestine at age 18 in order to visit relatives in Tel-Aviv. The outbreak of World War Two prevented him from returning to Poland and he remained in Israel.
Shaul was amongst the first of the volunteers of the Pioneer Corps in the British Army to fight in the Western Desert of North Africa. In March 1941, he was sent to Greece to aid in the repelling of the German forces. After about a month of fighting, about 1,300 soldiers were taken captive as prisoners-of-war by the Germans, and Shaul was among them. The POW's were transferred to forced labor camps in Witten, in Silesia in Germany.[NOT TRUE…Witten is 1000km. from Silesia]
During their imprisonment, the POW's were forced to perform hard labor and suffered from the wrath and the abuse of Nazi commanders. After two of the Jewish Palestinian POW's were murdered by one of the camp commanders, the POW's engaged in passive disobedience in November 1944. Shaul was one of the leaders of the protest and even participated in a fierce and dangerous struggle that took place between the POW's and this commander. This resulted in the commander's being expelled from the camp. In this struggle, Shaul was injured and was hospitalized in Katowice, where he died from his wounds on December 12, 1944 at age 23. [the Hebrew version says 24…NOT TRUE](Erev Chanukah, the 24th of the Hebrew month of Kislev 5705).
At the conclusion of World War Two, Rafael-Fishel, a younger brother of Shaul, realized that he was that he was the sole one remaining from his large family, all of whom had perished in Treblinka in 1942. At first, Rafael searched for his brother Shaul in Israel until he understood that Shaul too was no longer amongst the living and that he had in fact been buried in Germany. Rafael's effort to transfer Shaul's remains to Israel met with difficulties which were mounted by the British authorities whose policy forbid the transfer of the remains of fallen British servicemen from the British military cemeteries in which they were buried.
Only 22 years later, on May 4, 1967 (the 24th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan 5727), Rafael's efforts paid off and Shaul Urbach was interred in the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem in the same plot as David Raziel, the commander of Etzel. Except for these two, the plot remains empty, the hope having been that the plot would be filled with additional Palestinian Jewish soldiers who fell in the service of the British Army and whose remains would also be transferred for burial in Israel. As far as can be determined, Shaul is the only one of the POW's from German captivity who is buried in Israel.
At the initiative of "Giving a Face to the Fallen", a memorial service was held on Chanukah 2016 in the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery for Shaul Urbach, with the participation of Sharlette Caplin (daughter of Shaul's brother Rafael), who was located in Dublin, Ireland.
Details of the life of Shaul Yekutiel Urbach are listed in part on the “Yizkor” website of the Israeli Ministry of Defense. His story was researched and completed in 2016 by the volunteers of “Giving a Face to the Fallen ” organization.