Menachem Mendel Prywes
Menachem Mendel PrywesCourtesy of the family

It seems that the story of Menachem Prywes, a Jewish hero, has hardly been mentioned in the annals of modern Israeli history. Yesterday, Tuesday, he finally received significant recognition for his actions and sacrifice during the period of the British Mandate.

In 1940, as part of the policy of the White Paper, British authorities in the Land of Israel issued a "Land Transfer Regulation" in February 1940, limiting the sale of land to Jews in the Land of Israel. The Jewish settlement opposed this policy with full force, through protests, demonstrations and a general strike. During the strike, restaurants, cinemas and entertainment venues were required to close their doors in protest of the regulations.

In those days there lived a young man named Menachem Mendel Prywes, only 17 years old. Menachem was born in Poland on the second of Marcheshvan, 5683, the eldest son of Chaim Yehuda Leib and Musia Freida Prywes.

Menachem immigrated to Israel with his family in 1933. He began his studies at the Mizrachi Teachers' Seminary, later the Ram Lifshitz Teachers College, which merged with Herzog College, the largest college of education in the national religious education system (Hemed).

He was an avid supporter of Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel and sacrificed his life for the values ​​he believed in.

On Saturday night, on the 22nd of Adar 1, 5700, Menachem Prywes, as a representative of the Haganah, appeared on the stage of the Jerusalem “Eden” cinema, which broke the strike, and gave an emotional speech in an attempt to convince his people to join the protest and leave the cinema.

He was dragged from the hall and brutally beaten in the head by the British policemen who were summoned to the scene and, unfortunately - with his parents at his bedside - died of his injuries days later on the 24th of Adar 1, 5700. His funeral was attended by tens of thousands of Jerusalemites.

The chief rabbis of the time, Ben Zion Meir Chai Uziel and Yitzhak Isaac HaLevi Herzog, as well as other Jerusalem public figures, eulogized the young hero before he was laid to rest on the Mount of Olives.

Yesterday, a special memorial service was held in memory of Menachem Mendel Prywes. His family dedicated the famous auditorium on the campus of Heichal Shlomo to his memory and the memory of his act of sacrifice.

Rabbi Prof. Yehuda Brandes said during the ceremony: "Herzog College sees great merit in granting a place of honor to a young hero like this, in a place where teachers of Israel are trained to be the spearhead of the education system and effort is made to spread the heritage of Judaism throughout Israel and the entire world.”

Announcement of Prywes' death
Announcement of Prywes' death