1928 - 2012
Yosef Steiner was born in 1928 in a small town called Rybnik in Galicia, Poland. With the invasion of Poland by the Germans in 1939 Yosef and his parents escaped to Hungary. In the course of the persecution of the Jews of Hungary Yosef's father, Marcel, was murdered by the Hungarian fascists, though Yosef and his mother managed to escape.
At the conclusion of the war Yosef and his mother were among the thousands of Jews in the Displaced Persons camps in Germany, where at the same time the survivors of European Betar organised themselves within the camps where Yosef, an 18 year old youth, became one of the active participants.
Eventually in 1947, Yosef and his mother received visas for Australia and made their home in Melbourne. Among the first items on his agenda was to make contact with the Betar movement in Melbourne, which at that time was comprised mainly of Betar members who had arrived in Australia prior to the outbreak of World War II and survivors who reached Australia after the war.
In 1948 a large Betar camp was organised in Melbourne which attracted for the first time a large number of youths from Australia. Yosef realised that the future of Betar in Australia would depend on these English speaking youngsters; and so Yosef began cultivating and convincing these youngsters to become active in Betar. Thus, Yosef laid the foundations of a new Australian Betar and he became its leader and driving force in the coming years. During this period, Yosef together with this new leadership consolidated and expanded Betar in Melboune as well as Sydney making it well known in the community.
In 1950 Yosef felt the need to expand his knowledge as well as to represent Betar at the World Betar Centre in Israel. Thus Yosef became Betar Australia's first Machon student.
Just before his departure for Israel Yosef met Dora Hirsh and in December 1952 they married. Both Yosef and Dora continued their activities in Betar until their Aliya in 1955. Without doubt Yosef's legacy within Betar Australia has continued up to the present day and could not have come about without Yosef's presence.
Here in Israel Yosef established a number of enterprises and among his most relevant enterprises was the searching for and acquiring items of Judaica which had been plundered by the local populations of Poland and Hungary and bringing them back to Israel for posterity. He visited these localities, while having command of both languages on many occasions convincing the gentiles to part with these items, some of which were of a religious nature. Another activity of Yosef's was the organisation of exhibitions in which he excelled, his own art work in metal and other materials as well as painting exhibitions by his wife Dora.
Nevertheless Yosef's interest in Betar's activities was always a top priority and he regularly organised gatherings in his home whenever Australian Betar members visited Israel and tried to keep informed of Betar's progress in Australia. Those who worked together with Yosef during those critical years 1948-1955 were privileged to have befriended a person of outstanding energy, talent and ability who has left his stamp on every facet of Australian Betar to the present day.
The family of Australian Betar has today lost one of its foremost sons. He may rest in peace in the knowledge that he will never be forgotten, and we shall always be reminded of his outstanding achievements both in Israel and in Australia.
- Shimshon Feder
The passing of a giant.
Please pass on my sincere condolences to Yosef's family and friends for their (and all our) loss.
HOW SAD, but at least he is at peace. And we've all shared many many decades of friendship with him. Please pass on Henry & my condolences & wishes of "long Life" to Dora. May our memories sustain us all at this time & be a blessing to us all. much love & caring,
Miriam & Henry
Very sad – a true Zionist and a Hadar Betari. Hi will be missed and our deepest condolences to the family.
Effi and Felicity Yaacobi.
THE END OF AN ERA TOO .. .SHEYAVO EL MEKOMO BESHALOM".
Please pass on Tony's and my condolences to Dora.
I am extremely sorry that his funeral notice arrived after it had occurred. Since I see some names on this list of Betarim I know or even was a madrich of via the Machon, let me just add that I was privileged to work with Yosef over the course of several years in the framework of World Betar and through Herut/Likud acitvities as well as making use of his graphic artwork. Yehi zichro baruch