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About Us

In the winter of 2018, I began researching my grandfather’s untold story.  I discovered historical facts about his life and have attempted to preserve them here for our family and future generations that may be interested in his contributions.  The phrase "Seek the truth, hear the truth, learn the truth, love the truth, speak the truth, hold the truth and defend the truth until death," also known as the "truth prevails," is the national motto of the Czech Republic.  This phrase appears along the base of the Jan Hus Memorial in Prague. Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, the first President of Czechoslovakia, adopted the shortened phrase and I’ve done my best to adhere to this motto in telling my grandfather's story.

My grandfather, Zalman On (Unreich), lived from 1912 to 1978.  Growing up, I heard bits and pieces of stories about him and his heroism in helping to found the state of Israel, but the details were shrouded in mystery.  After many months of research, and with the amazing power of the internet, I have pieced together a detailed biography based on interviews, written stories, photos, letters, and some vintage historical film.  Zalman was always a mystery - no one knew where he came from or what his next move might be; one moment he appeared to enter a room and the next nobody seemed to know where he went.  A real life “James Bond”. There are two words that describe Zalman. One is a Hebrew word, “al-mo-nim” (אלמונים) “undercover”, meaning “anonymous” or “nameless” and the other word “heroic”, meaning a person showing extreme courage and risking his life for the benefit of others.  He has never been recognized for many of the amazing deeds he undertook – until now.

Zalman's Accomplishments and Honors:

  1. Won the Slovak wrestling championship in 1927 (welterweight division).

  2. Coached and lead the Hapoel Sports Club in Palestine from the late 1930’s to 1940’s.   

  3. Won first place in Greco-Roman wrestling in the 1935 Maccabi Games (heavyweight division).

  4. Member of the Haganah - Jewish paramilitary organization during the British Mandate of Palestine.

  5. Member of the Jewish Agency also known as the Mossad – Israel’s Central Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations.

  6. Responsible for the security of the Histadrut's Executive Committee during 1938 - 1947.

  7. Trained Israeli paratroopers, namely the “Slovak Quartet”.

  8. Found cemetery in the Czech Republic where the remains of the paratroopers who fell in 1945 were buried, which included Haviva Reik and his cousin Zvi Ben Yaakov and other Jewish Parachutists from World War II.  

  9. Lead security for European Embassy (Ligation of Israel) between 1948 to 1950’s, working with Aryeh Kubovy and Moshe Sharett.

  10. Took part in the Israeli delegation to negotiate arms deal in 1947 in Prague.  Continued to be involved with overseeing Israel military personnel to learn how to use weapons and arms equipment training from Czechoslovakia military around 1948 with Moshe Sharett and Ehud Avriel.

  11. Saved Jewish holy scriptures in 1950's and received government honors. 

  12. Worked for the Histadrut Tourist & Travel Co Ltd at Lod Airport in the late 1960's - 70’s, building a relationship with world renounced singer and entertainer, Frank Sinatra.  

  13. Giving back and honored while welcoming paraplegic athletes, when Israel was host nation at the 1968 Summer Paralympics in Tel Aviv.  

  14. Co-participated in saving Edgar Krasa, the Chef who survived Theresienstadt.

  15. Recognized for assisting and possibly saving expelled Benedictines monks affiliated with the Order of Saint Benedict in Czechoslovakia.

Link to Zalman's Curriculum Vitae.

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About the Author

My own background in writing began at the age of seven in 1983 when I moved with my parents and younger brother to Israel, because my father, an executive chef at the time, wanted to return home and had a great new work opportunity with the American Embassy.  While there, my younger brother and sister (twins) were born. My parents later separated, resulting in the family eventual return to Baltimore, Maryland in 1991, just a few days before the Iraq Scud missiles started to fall on Israel during the Desert Storm War.  I attended Villa Julie College and later received my MBA from Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School in 2005.  Today I am married to Stephanie Kaye Baron, whom I met in high school, and has three adorable daughters. 

In support of my work, I’ve been collaborating with Archive Curators at the following organizations:

In my work, as a Jewish heritage specialist, the accuracy and details of the Jewish people is something I hold deep to my heart.  I want to share peoples' stories with those who may not have been familiar with our turbulent pasts, and remind those who are, what we had to go through for freedom. 

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