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Purity of Arms

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Teddy Vardi (Rosenfeld)  E-mail

Teddy Vardi was born in Satu Mare, Transylvania (Romania), and arrived with his family as an infant to the U.S.A. He was raised in the Bronx and was a member of Hashomer Hatzair.

In World War II he volunteered in the U.S. Army and served in the infantry as a scout and an artillery forward-observer in Europe. He served on the Anzio beachhead, landed in Normandy on D-Day, was among the first Allied troops to break into Germany, and helped liberate the surviving inmates of the Mathausen Concentration Camp.

He joined Aliyah Bet in 1946, serving aboard the “Exodus” (previously the “President Warfield”) and the “Kibbutz Galuyot” (“Pan York”) and “Atzmaut” (“Pan Crescent”). Aboard the “Atzmaut” Teddy was in complete charge of a hold containing 1,500 people. Arrested and placed in a military lock-up in Cyprus, he was subsequently sent to one of the internment camps from which he and several others escaped to Palestine. He volunteered to go back to Europe, and was put in charge of the ship “Mishmar Ha’Emek,” which attempted to run the British blockade. The ship was ultimately caught, its people transferred to Cyprus, and this time Teddy was sentenced by a civilian court to several months in prison.

When freed, Teddy went to Israel with the American garin at Kibbutz Sha’ar HaGolan, where he contracted malaria. He was a member of Kibbutz Sasa, where he moved stones, planted trees and spent nights driving a truck to bring water to the young meshek. He shared in the joys of the first cow, first tractor, and first baby, and returned to his room and wept over the deaths of comrades felled by polio. He served as one of the kibbutz bus drivers on those long and harrowing trips between Haifa and Sasa.

Teddy was buried at Kibbutz Hatzor. The funeral was attended by many members of Aliyah Bet and Machal. Avi Livney said: “Teddy was both friend and brother, and a faithful son to our nation and people.”