Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sonia Peres - More of A "Man" than Her Husband

Shimon Peres never ever served in uniform as a soldier.

His wife, though, did. And helped out a Lechi fighter as well.

Read on:-

In May 1942, Sonia Gelman, 18, enlisted in the British Army. Nazi General Rommel's forces were advancing towards Tel Aviv, and although her friends joined the Palmach, young Sonia believed that the Germans were a more immediate threat.

"I realized that this was the Jewish people's war and that I had to do my part," recounts Gelman, better known today as Mrs. Shimon Peres. "I always dreamt of being a nurse in a hospital, and I requested to serve in this function."

...in the morning, when the head nurse arrived, she bluntly told Peres, "Go clean the cupboards and don't touch the patients, you accursed creature." Not one to meekly swallow an insult, Peres slapped her superior, and the other Jewish nurses cheered. Furious, the head nurse submitted a complaint against Peres, who demanded that the nurse be tried for her racist comment.

...As it turns out, Peres unwittingly helped the Lehi (the so-called Stern Gang) at one point during her army service. One of Peres' comrades was Yaffa Tevuah from Haifa. When Tevuah was hospitalized, Peres took her place as an ambulance driver.

"I had no idea that Yaffa was a member of the Underground," Peres reminisces. "But while she was in the hospital, officers of the British investigative police came to interrogate her.

"I told them that she was very sick and that her condition was such that they wouldn't be able to interrogate. They left, and then I asked our commanding officer what they wanted. She said that she didn't know exactly, but she had a feeling that it was connected to Lord Moyne's murder.

"I traveled to the camp, took Yaffa's uniform, got into the ambulance and raced back to the hospital. I went to her; she put on the uniform; and I smuggled her back to the camp.

"We removed some papers and documents from her belongings, and I went outside and burnt them inside a barrel. After I had finished, I drove her back to the hospital, and she got into bed as if she had never left."

Two days later, Tevuah was arrested and brought to the Allenby Camp in Jerusalem. Although she was never tried, Tevuah was placed in administrative detention as an accomplice to murder.

She had no idea who saved her. "Many years later," Tevuah reports, "they told me: 'You don't know? It was Sonia.' She was the girlfriend of Peres, who was a Mapai'nik."

1 comment:

Freedom said...

Great story! There were quite a few women in Israel's history that acted more like men, than the men around them. Too bad none of Sonia's brawn ever rubbed off on Shimon!