Chavivah Reik (1914-1944)

Chaviva Reik was one of the four members of the Hagana who were parachuted over Slovakia during World War II.
Chaviva was born of working class parents in a small village near the town Banska Bystrica in Slovakia. She immigrated to Palestine in 1939 and joined the Shomer Hazair kibbutz of Ma'anit. During the critical days of the war she volunteered to return to Slovakia. On September 15, 1944, parachutists from Eretz Israel were dropped over Slovakia into an area that was the scene of fighting between the Germans and the Slovakian-anti-nazi rebels. This was the start of "Operation Amsterdam" which was planned by the British army.
On September 20th, Chavivah Reik was parachuted from an American Plane over the heart of the fighting area. She was fourth of the group of parachutists. The four saw as their main aim the organization into a fighting unit of the Jewish youth who were still in Slovakia; but they discovered that they were already fighting either with the Slovakian army or with the partisans. Chavivah returned, therefore, to Banska Bystrica where she had been an active member of Hashomer Hazair and of the local branch of the Jewish National Fund before she left for Palestine. On her arrival there, she found very few Jews whom she knew. Most of the community, including her parents and members of her family, had been sent to the Nazi concentration camps. She then set about helping those who remained.
The Germans amassed strong forces to put down insurgents and, after heavy fighting, conquered their center on October 28, 1944. The parachutists, together with a group of members of the Jewish Youth movements from the capital made their way into the hills and set up camp in the mountains.
Their camp was attacked by the Germans and many of the group were killed. Three of the parachutists, Chavivak Reik, Zvi Reis, and Zvi Ben-Yaakov were captured and put to death; the fourth, Chaim Hermesh was the only one to escape and get back to Palestine after the war had ended.
Chavivah Reik was executed in the village of Kremenicka and buried, together with hundreds of Jews and partisans in a communal grave. In 1952 her body was brought to Israel and re-interred on Mt. Herzl in the special plot for parachutists.
The memory of Chavivah Reik- kibbutznik and Palmachnik-has been honored by several organizations. This stamp bears her portrait; the tab at the bottom bears the year she was born and the year she died according to the Latin and Jewish calendars.


This biography was written by Akiva Nir and taken from the brochure of the Philatelic Division of the Israel Postal Authority without permission. (sorry)