Aba Kovner (1918-1987)
Aba Kovner, an author and a poet, was born in Sevastopol, Russia. He went to school at the Hebrew Gymnasium in Vilna and was a member of Hashomer Hatzair. With Vilna’s occupation by the Germans and the onset of abductions of Jewish men, he and a few friends took refuge in a Dominican convent. He was a founder of the United Partisan Organization in the Vilna ghetto, and he assumed leadership of the group after the death of its leader Yitzhak Wittenberg. On September 23, 1943–the day the ghetto was to be liquidated, Kovner led a group of fighters into the Roczniki forests and joined the partisans. After the liberation of Lithuania, he returned to Vilna and became an activist of the Bericha organization and the Eastern Europe Survivors Brigade. Kovner was also a founder of the Nakam (vengeance) movement. In 1946, he and his wife Vitka Kempner Kovner joined Kibbutz Ein Hahoresh. During Israel’s War of Independence, Kovner served as a cultural officer in the Givati Brigade. He dedicated his time to writing, and in 1970 he was awarded the Israel Prize for literature. Kovner was a founder of Moreshet.