Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dan Frenkel on Milwaukee Betar

Hi Yisrael,

I was the leader of Milwaukee Betar, in the 70's which was a group nurtured and mentored by Bobby Brown. I have lost touch with Bobby and Linda, but they were wonderful to us.

We started as a JDL group in 1967, breaking with Kahane in 1969 to join ZOA's Massada. Bobby convinced me that we should be a Betar group and the most of us left Masada in mass.

Before we left Masada, I wrote to Menachem Begin and asked him for a personal meeting. He invited us to a Chicago black tie Israel Bonds dinner, and when he saw our small group of teenagers, in blue jeans, he left the podium main table, walked to the back of the ballroom where we were standing, and said, I am here to greet the future generation. I remember an Israel Bond official reminding him that he had to meet certain big givers, and remember Begin turning to the gentleman from Israel Bonds, saying, the youth come first.

Your name used to come up, but do not think we have ever met. When we were active in Betar, the leaders of the New York group were Barry Liben, Bobby Brown, Steve Liebowitz (I think), Gilead Freund etc.

At one point, we had a 100 members and Menachem Begin accepted an invitation to came to visit us. He told us he was coming to see us before visiting his own son Benny who was studying in Denver. He expected a small Betar group and was very surprised to see a large uniformed honor guard, and a group of over 700 people waiting to hear him speak. This is especially true, since Milwaukee has a small Jewish population. I have pictures and audio of the event if you would like them for your blog or the Begin Center.

We were a poor Betar group and had a hard time raising the money to bring in Begin and his security. We put him up at a so so Milwaukee motel, which we could not afford. The Begin Rally was held at the JCC, and the ADL tried to cancel the event by pulling the hall reservation away from us saying that Menachem Begin was not a main stream Israeli leader. Lucky for us the head of the JCC and Federation did not agree, and threatened to resign if Begin was not allowed to speak. This was only months before Prime Minister Begin's election.

Both Menachem Begin and his aid Yehiel Kadishai told me in Israel, December 1975, that the Milwaukee trip lifted his spirits at a time when his chances to become Prime Minister were slight, and at a time when the party was falling apart because of lack of finances and infighting. Begin also said that Hart Hasten and his brother had single handed saved the party from financial disaster.

The night of our rally, Menachem Begin also told me that he would not win his current race for Prime Minister, it was is last attempt, that he was tired and looked forward to retiring, spending time with his Grandchildren and writing a book.

Please send me your email address and telephone number, because I would like to get some of this material to you and have a story about something that Begin told me, that I have never heard anywhere else, which may shed light as to why he left office.

Many of the members of Milwaukee Betar are active Jewish leaders in the Milwaukee community and some live in Israel. Perhaps you knew some of them including Laurence Cramer, Dan Ruderman, Moshe Katz, Danny Katz, Laurie Frenkel Herman, Alan Kwass, Geela Polansky, Bennay Brown. I live in Milwaukee and Scottsdale Arizona with my wife Kellie.


Risa Tzohar said...

Fascinating story!

Anonymous said...

When I joined Amatzia, I heard stories of a fellow that was always coming up with igneous ideas. I'm not sure of the spelling or the exact pronunciation, but I believe his name was Kremerman

Bobby Brown said...

Dear Dan,
You may reach me at
Tel Chai
Bobby Brown

Anonymous said...

Hi Danny!

It's Laurel (Polansky), Geela and Cheryl's sister (Burt & Sheila's daugher). It just so happens I am re-reading THE REVOLT right now by BEGIN.

I would be curious to know what it was that Begin told you that might shed light as to why he left office?

I remember being in Betar (marching, singing, and learning the nun-chuks).

Shtei Gadat....


Anonymous said...

Daniel, Camp Director, Camp Betar, Wurtsboro, NYS, Yankee Lake...WHat was his last name? He had shoulder length dark hair, green eyes, aviator glasses, 5'4" tall, and an alergy to fish.

Unknown said...

If this is the same Daniel Friedman who was camp director of Camp Betar, did you bother telling anyone of the wonderful memories you created for us in your private cabin? How you brought hand-picked boys and girls to your cabin for child pornograhy, which you and Barry SOLD for thousands of dollars? Or how you had a deal with the Coonans, brought in those boys from the outside, and MURDERED Mark Collins right in front of us, in a snuff film for $100,000? Yeah, you were so desperate for money, you resorted to MURDER TO GET IT!!! You didn't stop there, either! You kept coming to see me at home till I was 14, and threatened me at knife-point to keep my mouth shut, you were going to kidnap another kid from the city, with your "Spanish friend." Then, on my mother's next birthday, May 25th--ETAN PATZ DISAPPEARED. What did you do with Etan's body, I wonder? Is he in the Neversink Reservioir, right next to Mark Collins? Probably. Steve Feldkotter said that's where you and Barry dumped all your bodies! Hashem is stalking you, you sick bastard!!!! Sooner or later, there WILL BE A RECKONING, I PROMISE. G-D WILL GET YOU, YOU SICK TWISTED BASTARD! "Are you are real Cohen? I've never had a priest before!" right before you raped me, tied to your bed! I WAS 12 YEARS OLD YOU SON OF A BITCH, DON'T THINK I EVER FORGOT!!!! THE LAWS OF NY STATE CAN'T PROTECT YOU FORVEVER!!!!