TEL AVIV (Feb. 28)
Mordechai Oren, the veteran Mapam activist and journalist whose trial and imprisonment by Czechoslovakia shook and split the leftwing of the Zionist movement in the 1950′s, died yesterday at the age of 79.
A founder of the Hashomer Hatzair movement in his native Austro-Hungary, where he was born in 1905, Oren came to Palestine in 1929 and became a member of Kibbutz Mizra, his home until his death.
In 1951, Oren went from a conference of the Communist-oriented World Federation of Trade Unions he had attended in East Berlin to Prague, to work to free Jews arrested for Zionist activities.
He was arrested, interrogated and tortured, tried for treason and sentenced to 15 years at hard labor. The trial raised questions about Mapam’s pro-Soviet orientation and caused deep rifts in the leftwing party.
Oren was released in 1956 and returned to Mizra, where he wrote an autobiography, “A Political Prisoner in Prague.”