Cover image for Behind prison walls : a Jewish woman freedom fighter for Israel's independence
Behind prison walls : a Jewish woman freedom fighter for Israel's independence
Heller, Tzila Amidror.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Ba-maʻatsar be-Vet-Leḥem. English
Publication Information:
Hoboken, NJ : Ktav Pub. House, [1999]

Physical Description:
xiv, 296 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Personal Subject:
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS151.H364 A3 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Heller recounts her struggles against the British domination of Palestine as part of the Irgun Zvai Leumi, the underground organization headed by Menachim Begin, who contributes a Foreword to her account. Most of the story involves her time in a British prison for women near Bethlehem, and tells how the women continued the fight from their cells and empowered each other. No index or bibliography. Translated from Ba-ma'atsar be-Vet-Lehem published by Jabotinsky Press in 1961. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

The author was a member of the Irgun, the underground organization headed by Menachem Begin, who later became Israel's prime minister. Irgun's aim was to get the British out of Palestine and establish a Jewish state; in the end, it was successful. This fascinating autobiography focuses on Heller's life in the infamous British prison for women near Bethlehem. In her preface to the book's first edition--written in 1961--Heller reveals that 19 years after her first arrest and imprisonment, and 14 years after her final release (during those five years she was arrested and released several times), she began writing the book in an attempt to tell the story of the women of the underground. Heller vividly describes her arrest (and the effect it had on her mother and four-year-old son), the nightmare of her interrogation, and the inhuman conditions of prison life. Heller writes of the important role religion played for her and other inmates, and of the mutual empathy among the prisoners. --George Cohen