Guide to the Irgun Zvai Leumi Collection
1942-1948, 1978-1985, undated

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Collection Overview

Title: Irgun Zvai Leumi collection
Inclusive Dates:1942-1948, 1978-1985, undated
Bulk Dates:1942-1948
Size: 2 Linear feet
Number of Boxes:2 oversized boxes
Abstract:The Irgun Zvai Leumi (IZL) was a Jewish defense organization founded in Palestine in 1931 by former members of the mainstream Haganah who took a more militant approach to violence against Jews and carried out armed reprisals against Arabs and, beginning in 1939, against the British Mandatory government. The collection consists of publications, announcements, memos and a political cartoon related to and published by the IZL, as well as a scrapbook created by an unknown IZL member.
Languages:Materials are in Hebrew, English, French, Romanian and Hungarian.
Call No: 2007.007

About This Guide

Finding aid initially encoded August, 2009

Revised to include acquisition of scrapbook and articles, May 2015.

Finding aid encoded in English.

Historical Note

The Irgun Zvai Leumi (IZL, also known as Etsel) was a Jewish defense organization founded in Palestine in 1931 by former members of the mainstream Haganah who rejected the latter group's defensive policy toward violence against Jews and wanted a more militant defense organization. Following the British government's implementation of the 1939 White Paper, which curtailed Jewish immigration to Palestine, the IZL focused its activities against the British Mandatatory government by sabotaging government property and attacking security officers. Once the State of Israel was established in 1948, the group became integrated into the national army.

Scope and Contents note

The collection consists of publications, announcements, memos and a political cartoon related to and published by the Irgun Zevai Leumi B'eretz Israel (IZL) during the period following the Holocaust until the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. It also includes a personal scrapbook created by an unknown IZL member.

The publications consist of issues of three newspapers in Hebrew entitled Af Al Pi (1945-1946), Mishpat Ha-20 (1945), and Herut (1945-1948). There is also a small journal entitled Fighting Judea, of which there are issues in English, French, Romanian, and Hungarian, with issues from 1946-1949. The collection also contains transcripts of broadcasts from two radio shows in Hebrew entitled Kol Tzion Halochamit (1946-1948) and Kol Hacheirut (1948).

The announcements consist of a number of death notices put out by the IZL announcing the deaths of various Jewish civilians and soldiers, including where and when they died, from 1946 and 1947. Several have pictures of the individuals on them. Also included in the collection are announcements of the achievements of the IZL, such as areas the soldiers from the IZL had succeeded in recapturing, as well as announcements to raise morale among Palestine's Jewish residents and support for the IZL's activities, declaring that freedom from the oppressive British government is close at hand, all from 1945-1948.

Also included in the collection is a typed memorandum from the IZL to the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine and a report of a conference between representatives of the UN Special Committee on Palestine and IZL representatives, both from June 1947. There is also a typed booklet created by the IZL entitled "The Hebrew Struggle for National Liberation: A Selection of Documents on its Background and on Events Punctuating its Course."

The collection also includes a political cartoon published by the IZL depicting the Israeli army stopping the British goverment.

The scrapbook contains photocopies of IZL announcements and of the IZL newspaper Herut (1944-1946), as well as some original newspaper clippings. It also includes copies of announcements and newspaper clippings issued by Lohame Herut Yisrael (or Lehi, also known as the ‘Stern Gang’, which broke away from IZL), primarily from 1947-1948. The original clippings primarily relate to the Altalena, an IZL ship transporting weapons that became the center of an armed battle between IZL and the newly formed Israeli army in 1948. There is also some retrospective material from the 1970s-80s, including an eight-page recollection of the Altalena Affair by Lehi member Amnon Harman, an eyewitness to it.

Finally, the collection contains two brief, typed articles relating to IZL by writer Eliyho Matz.

Index Terms

This collection has been indexed under the following terms:

Harman, Amnon
Matz, Eliyho
Irgun tseva'i le'umi -- History -- Sources
Loḥame ḥerut Yiś́raʼel
Altalena (Ship)
Jews -- Palestine -- History -- 20th century -- Sources
Radio Program -- Palestine
Revisionist Zionism -- Palestine -- History -- Sources
Palestine -- History -- 1929-1948 -- Sources
Palestine -- Politics and government -- 1917-1948 -- Sources
Document Types:
Manuscripts, typed
Transcriptions (radio programs)
Fighting Judea
Mishpaṭ ha-20

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is available to researchers deemed to be qualified by the Archivist.

Conditions Governing Use

Restrictions may apply concerning the use, photoduplication, or publication of materials in this collection. Please contact the Curator of Special Collections for information regarding Yeshiva University's reproduction policies and fees.