Yitzhak ‘Mimish’ Herbst


Herbst Imre

Born in Eperjes (Prešov) in 1916

Died on 8.2.1978 in Israel

Member of “Hashomer Hatzair”



Yitzhak joined the movement at an early age. In 1935 he started to studymedicine in Prague but in 1938 he had to discontinue his studies due to the worsening of the conditions for the Jews.
Yitzhak’s older brother, Jenø, who was a communist activist, wasarrested and deported in 1942. Yitzhak was also in danger and had to escape to Hungary. When he arrived in Budapest, Mimish joined the aid and rescue operations for the refugees from Slovakia and Poland. In 1943 Mimish was caught, arrested and brutally tortured. His health was damaged by the torture. He was released and resumed his rescue operations.
After the German invasion of Hungary on 19.3.1944, he was one of the main activists of the Zionist youth movements underground. In June 1944, together with his wife Judith, he was supposed to cross the border into Romania within the framework of the tiyul in order to make aliya. They were both caught by the Hungarian gendarmerie and were detained in the Szeged prison. Mimish managed to escape but Judith remained in the custody of the Gestapo and was cruelly tortured. Mimish succeeded in liberating her in a daring operation with the help of Tzipi Schechter (Agmon) and Milan, a Serbian.
Mimish continued his underground activities until the end of the war. According to his friends he got the nickname of “Mr. Underground”. After the liberation Mimish was active in the Aliya Bet. He made aliya in 1948 and joined Kibbutz Ha’ogen.
In 1950 he moved to Tel-Aviv with his family. He worked as a photographer. Of the many films he made, one of the first Israeli films, “Burning Sands”, is famous.
For many years Mimish suffered from the physical damage caused by his arrest in 1943.