"Tehran Children" and "Anders' Army"
At the outbreak of World War II, Jews fled Poland, with their families, to eastern Poland, which had been occupied by the Red Army, in accordance with the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact.
On June 22, 1941, with the invasion of Nazi Germany into the Soviet Union, they continued to migrate east into the country, Siberia and the Asian republics.
On August 14, 1941, the "Stalin-Shikorsky Agreement" was signed between the Polish government in exile in Britain and the Soviet government, in which Polish refugees, trapped in Soviet territory, were called upon to join the Polish army and fight alongside the Allies. To this force, under the command of General Vladislav Anders, nicknamed the "Anders' Army", were attached Polish officers and soldiers, who had been released from prison in the Gulag in Siberia and Kazakhstan.
The agreement allowed former Polish citizens to move to Persia, which was under British influence. Thousands of Jews, who were looking for a way to leave the Soviet Union, joined the army.
From Persia they moved to Iraq and then to Eretz Israel, where Anders formed and trained his army, which numbered about 70,000 soldiers, of whom 4,225 were Jews.
3,085 Jewish soldiers defected and immigrated to Eretz Israel as illegal immigrants, including Menachem Begin, David Azrieli and others.
About 2,000 joined the British army, and later the Jewish Brigade, and the others, the police of the Jewish communities and the underground organizations in the country.
Despite this, General Anders "ignored" the phenomenon and continued with his army towards Italy, where he participated in the battles of "Monte Casino" (in which 420 fighters fell, 28 of them Jews) and later, the liberation of Ancona and Bologna (where 20 Jews fell).
After the war, General Anders admitted that "the Jews fought with great sacrifice on the battlefields and even excelled in their service in other positions."
About 30,000 civilians, including the families of hundreds of Jewish soldiers, joined the army on its journey. With them were hundreds of children without parents.
The children were transported by cars and trains to the port city of Krasnobodsk to the shores of the Caspian Sea, and from there by sea, to Pahlavi in Persia. From there, after a short stay in particularly difficult conditions, the children were transferred to Tehran, where they were housed in tents, in high density and in poor sanitation conditions.
The Jewish Agency, sent emissaries to the place and set up a children's camp, where she gathered them and prepared their immigration to Eretz Israel.
In early January 1943 after much political effort, the British granted children immigration permits.
1,230 people, including 369 adults and 861 children (719 of them without parents, and 142 with one or two parents), left Iran for Karachi in India (now Pakistan) and from there, via the Indian Ocean to Egypt.
At Port Taufik, at the southern end of the Suez Canal. Luba Eliav, at that time - a soldier in the 745th Engineering Company ("Solel Boneh Company") in the British army, met with the "Tehran children" who arrived on board of a passenger ship on their way to Eretz Israel. He wrote about this meeting:
"So, at that pier in Fort Taufik, we began to feel deeply and truly, that this war has a Jewish background, and that our goals in our military service are unique in their kind, unique only to us."
On February 18, 1943, they traveled by train from Port Said, to Eretz Israel, on an exciting journey, through Rehovot and Hadera, to Atlit, accompanied by festive and excited receptions.
Under the question "Where will the children be educated?", The future of the children was accompanied by heated debates between the Histadrut and the "working settlement" and between the religious and their streams. Finally, it was agreed that children up to the age of 14 would be divided:
298 children - to general secular educational institutions, in moshavim and kibbutzim, 36 children - to traditional educational institutions, 288 children - to institutions and localities of "Mizrachi", 38 children - to "Agudat Israel" institutions, and the rest, 200 in number, aged 14 and over, left to decide for themselves , Where they will grow up and be educated.
Half a year later, in August 1943, another group of about 120 children arrived through Iraq and Jordan.
Among the "Tehran children": the Generals - Haim Erez and Avigdor Ben Gal ("Janusz"), Hadassah Lempel (who fell in the battle of Latrun during the War of Independence), Aryeh Mantkevitz, Alex Giladi. The rabbis - Ben Zion Rabinowitz and Pinchas Schreiber and the author Ben-Zion Tomer, whose play "Children of the Shadow" deals with the story of one of the children of Tehran.
Many of the graduates of the Tehran children fought in the War of Independence, and some of them fell in battle.