Huberman Reik

  • Issue: September 1988
  • Designer: R. Beckman
  • Stamp size: 40 x 25.7 mm
  • Plate no.: 55
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Offset

Havivah Reik was one of the four members of the Hagana who were parachuted over Slovakia during World War II.

Havivah was born of working class parents who lived in a small village near the town Banska Bystrica in Slovakia. She immigrated to Palestine in 1939 and joined the Shomer Hazair kibbutz of Ma'anit. During the critical days of the war she volunteered to return to Slovakia. On September 15th, 1944, parachutists from Eretz Israel were dropped over Slovakia into an area that was the scene of fighting between the Germans and the Slovakian-anti-nazi rebels. This was the start of "Operation Amsterdam" which had been planned by the British army.

On September 20th, Havivah Reik was parachuted from an American plane over the heart of the fighting area. She was fourth of the group of parachutists. The four saw as their main aim the organization into a Jewish fighting unit of the Jewish youth who were still in Slovakia; but they discovered that these were already fighting either with the Slovakian army or with the partisans. Havivah returned, therefore, to Banska Bystrica where, she had been an active member of Hashomer Hazair and of the local branch of the Jewish National Fund before she left for Palestine. On her arrival there, she found very few Jews whom she knew. Most of the community, including her parents and members of her family, had been sent to the Polish concentration camps. She then set about helping those who remained.

The Germans amassed strong forces to put down insurgents and, after heavy fighting, conquered their centre on October 28th, 1944. The parachutists, together with a group of members of the Jewish Youth movements from the capital made their way into the hills and set up camp in the mountains.

This was attacked by the Germans and many of the group were killed. Three of the parachutists Havivah Reik, Zvi Reis and Zvi Ben-Yakov were captured and put to death; the fourth, Chaim Hermesh was the only one to escape and get hack to Palestine after the war had ended.

Havivah Reik was executed in the village of Kremenicka and buried, together with hundreds of Jews and partisans in a communal grave. In 1952 her body was brought to Israel and re-interred on Mt. Herzl in the special plot for parachutists.

The memory of Havivah Reik - kibbutznik and Palmachnik - has been honoured by several organizations. This commemorative stamp bears her portrait, the tab recording the name of the village in which she was born and died.

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Havivah Reik