Waves Sharon Simcha Holtzberg

  • Issue: April 1999
  • Designer: Ruth Beckman Malka
  • Stamp Size: 40 mm x 25.7 mm
  • Plate no.: 381
  • Sheet of 15 stamps, Tabs: 5
  • Printers: Government Printers
  • Method of printing: Offset

Simcha Holtzberg, "Father of the Wounded Soldiers," was born in Warsaw, Poland to Shmuel and Tziporah Holtzberg. His youth was tainted by the
horrors of the Holocaust. He participated in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, and was then sent to a number of concentration camps. Simcha was liberated from Bergen-Belsen, miraculously surviving where so many had died.

Simcha arrived in Israel in 1949 and found work. He became famous for his stubborn struggle against normalizing relations between Israel and Germany. He organized demonstrations every time a high-ranking German official came to Israel, and was indeed arrested a number of times. The first stormy demonstration opposed the presence of Ambassador Paulos; another protested the visit of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer.

Memories of the Holocaust remained with him throughout his life. He was deeply pained by the will to forget the Holocaust by Jews in Israel, and worked to preserve the meaningful memory. He established Holocaust libraries and published the poems of the Holocaust poet Yitzhak Katznelson, distributing thousands of copies of the volume. He befriended the famous Rabbi Arieh Levine of Jerusalem, known as "Father of the Prisoners". The rabbi was influential in Simcha's lifetime devotion to wounded Israel Defense Forces soldiers, whom he considered "the nation's holy and righteous".

Since the Six Day War, his story is that of a lone hero who after losing his entire family in the Holocaust, devoted his life to helping wounded soldiers, particularly the disabled. Simcha also earned a reputation for lending a helping hand to IDF widows and orphans.

Simcha Holtzberg took on the role of "father" for many, many wounded soldiers, viewing each as his own son. He supported them both spiritually and practically. He encouraged them in every way, giving them hope despite their injuries. He helped them settle down and marry, and regarded their children as his grandchildren.

He was outstandingly kind and sensitive to the terrible suffering he encountered when visiting hospitals and rehabilitation centers. He expressed an extraordinary understanding of the young soldiers' problems. The greatness of his deeds was awarded with the Israel Prize, presented by the President in 1976.

Simcha Holtzberg embodied a unique kind of mercy. His blessed memory is forever inscribed in the hearts of the many he helped during his years of working day and night to heal their bodies and souls. This was his life mission, and he aspired to be deserving of the name his mother had given him at birth: Simcha (joy), to bring as much joy to others as possible.

Simcha died as he had lived, among the wounded. While participating in a memorial ceremony for the victims of the Coastal Road massacre at the Glilot Junction, near Tel Aviv, he felt unwell. After twenty-seven years of unceasing selflessness, he met his maker.

Ephraim Holtzberg

top top

Simcha Holtzberg