David Gur

David Gur was born in 1926 in Okany, southeastern Hungary, to a family of four. In 1938, the Hungarian government began to implement anti-Jewish laws. Gur's father lost his business license and the family's economic situation worsened. A dedicated Zionist, Gur went to Budapest to learn a useful trade for life in Eretz Israel. While working as a construction apprentice for a Jewish contractor, he began to take part in the underground activities of Hashomer Hatza'ir, which included helping refugees arriving from neighboring countries. In March 1944, the Germans invaded Hungary, and the underground created a united defense committee that saved thousands of Jewish and non-Jewish lives. Gur joined a cell that forged documents. One day, he and his friends were caught by Hungarian detectives. Although they quickly swallowed the forged documents, the equipment in their suitcases gave them away. After a brutal investigation, during which one of them died, the rest of the group was taken to the military prison in Budapest Gur was among those scheduled for execution, but to their surprise, the prisoners were taken to the Swiss Consulate, where they were freed. A senior prison warden had been bribed by the underground. After the war, Gur learned his father had died in Auschwitz, but that his mother and sister had survived. He became a member of the Hashomer Hatza'ir leadership. He also took part in the underground activities of the Hagana. In 1949, when the Zionist movement was outlawed by the Communist regime, Gur commanded the last bricha (escape) operation, helping smuggle members of Zionist youth movements through Czechoslovakia and Austria to Eretz Israel. In 1949, he immigrated to Israel. He graduated from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and became a construction engineer. In 1985, Gur helped found the Association for Research into the Zionist Youth Movements of Hungary, where he remains active. He and his wife, Naomi, have three daughters and 10 grandchildren.