Yeshayahu (Shayke) Wainer
From Shtetl Turisk to a Leader of Hashomer Hatzair
Yeshayahu Wainer was born in Turisk in 1912. The members of the Wainer family were: the father Neta, the mother Pesia, one daughter Reisele, and four sons, Moshe, Ben-Zion, Shimon and Pesach. The parents were religious, but liberal people.
Before the First World War in 1910 the young industrialist Neta Wainer together with some other young Jews founded a Yiddish and Hebrew school. Shayke was among the first to attend a school that was not a traditional “cheider.” When he graduated he
entered the "Tarbut" Hebrew high school in the neighboring town
Kovel. Kovel was an active Zionist Center. Several Zionist youth
Movements such as, the Hashomer Hatzair, Hahalutz, Beitar and others called
people to join the movements to immigrate to Palestine.
Shayke joined the Hashomer Hatzair movement together with many other students
and became a leading figure in the movement. When he was home during vacation he managed to organize the pupils of the Tarbut school in a self-styled "Nest" of the Hashomer Hatzair organization. Soon it became the largest youth organization inTurisk.
Shayke was very active in the region Groups were organized in the large cities. They trained themselves to became workers in factories, agriculture, and other trades in
order to prepare to be Pioneers and members of Kibbutzim in Eretz Israel.
When Shayke graduated he returned home and waited for a new
group which was being established in order to join them.
Meanwhile he was the leader of “Nest” in Turisk.
In the meantime he started teaching in the "Tarbut" school, which
lasted for almost two years. Then he joined his "Achshara" or training group.
After several months he was sent to the headquarters of Hashomer
Hatzair in Warsaw. He visited the “Achshara” groups all over
Poland on behalf of the movement headquarters helping to choose the people most suited for the difficult journey and conditions on the Kibbutzim in Israel. During this period he was acquainted with thousands of members in the movement and well-known among the Zionist and Bund activists in Poland.
The British authorities denied immigration certificates for most of those trying to enter Palestine. Shayke was among the Pioneers of the illegal immigration. He organized train convoys with hundreds of "Pioneers" from Poland, Italy, and Romania
to board small ships for the difficult journey. Shayke escorted the
convoys and was like a father to them as he listened to their problems trying to solve some of the problems. He continued this work for over two years.
In 1939 Shayke was elected as the only Delegate of Hashomer- Hatzair to the Zionist Congress in Switzerland. He left Warsaw a week before Germany invaded Poland and while attending the Congressional discussions for eight days the war started. All the delegates rented a boat and sailed for Palestine but Shayke and two other Youth delegates decided to return to Warsaw and remain with the movement in the hard times as Warsaw was under siege and thousands were killed or wounded.
The Polish authorities ordered all the young people to leave Warsaw.
All the members of the "Hanhaga" (management) headquarters who stayed in Warsaw recruited hundreds of activists and started the heavy bombarded toward the new Russian border. They walked for two weeks under bombardments, but when crossing the Russian border new problems arose. The N.K.W.D. was chasing Zionists and arresting many of them so they stayed in hiding when Russia turned over the Vilna region to Lithuania. It was their chance to move toward Palestine.
Shayke and the leading group went secretly to Vilnius. Almost all the leaders and activists of the Zionist parties in Poland were there numbering about three thousand with a thousand Hashomer Hatzair activists. The leadership decided to send a group of very able and experienced activists to the Warsaw Ghetto. Shayke volunteered for this mission but this time the leadership refused his request. Mordechai Anielevich and Yosef Kaplan and several other activists were sent instead.
The leadership started sending people to Palestine with false documents. Several hundreds made it and Shayke was among them.
He arrived in Palestine at the end of 1940. He went to live
In Kibbutz Messilot with his original "Hahshara" group from Poland.
At Kibbutz Messilot he met Hannah and several months later they
married and settled in Kibbutz Ein Hashofet.
When Germany invaded Russia many of those who remained in Vilna escaped to the Russian army and eastern Republic of Russia. Shayke was knocking on every door in an attempt to convince the Kibbutz leadership to hurry and save the members in located in the Asian Republics.
Shayhke left his new wife and volunteered to join a working brigade to Teheran.
There he succeeded in making contact with many activists who survived with
victims. He managed to convince the "Joint" Fund to support the efforts and help the refugees in eastern Russia.
Thousands of food parcels were sent to them. After the war most they spoke of their gratitude as those the parcels saved their lives. After the Teheran mission Shayke returned
to the family and Kibbutz. He began teaching in the Kibbutz
school while enjoying his family life.
When the end of the war was near Shayke was asked by the "Hagana" to secretly leave the country for Poland to meet and organize the returning Jews who started to leave
Russia for Poland. Many of them were surprised to see him again and they joined together in organizing the masses of refugees starting the march to Eretz Israel.
Once again he was among the organizers of the "Exodus" of Jews from all
over Europe to Eretz Israel. Hundred of thousands of Jews on their way, in spite of the British Empire attempts to stop them.
Back in Israel Shayke was called again to join the leading central members of the Hashomer Hatzair abroad and became the secretary of the management of the Hashomer
Hatzair World Organization.
After finishing the mission Shayke was appointed envoy and leader of the organization in Argentina. He succeeded and lived there four years (with his family). After a short time in the Kibbutz he was appointed as diplomatic envoy in Argentina regarding- "To let the Soviet Jews Go!” Shayke was soon well known in the intellectual and leading circles of Argentina and many South American Countries. His activities were valued by all those whom
he worked with
After two years of exhausting activity Shayke fall very sick. He was forced to stop all of his activities and returned home and after several months he passed away.