Joseph Kisner

(alias Berl Kirzner, alias Cubaner)

Joseph Kisner was born February 28, 1906 in Barash (Russia) in the working class family ... In 1923 he immigrated to Cuba where he lived nine years. There was no social life in Havana, therefor he organized with other comrades a Cultural Association. He then began to form a union for workers and Cuban Jews. Then he organized a union of garment workers, leading them to a strike ... His activity finally  attracted the attention of the police who arrested him several times. Workers demonstrated for his release and they succeeded more than once. But after serving a last prison sentence, he was expelled. He arrived in Paris in 1931 with his family and lived in very difficult conditions. He was an active militant of the unions, member of the propaganda commission of the furriers. When war broke out in 1939, he joined the French Army. Taken prisoner, he was taken in the Hoeffel’s Stalag, but Kisner wasn’t a man to surrender ... In the very Stalag, he developed anti-Hitlerism propaganda among the prisoners ... Here is the testimony of a POW fellow who shared the same barrack. Israel Koplevitch said "I warned him not to play with fire, but he continued his activity to propagate anti-Nazi ideas. One day, out of the hospital, accompanied by a guard who took him to the train, an officer recognized him as Kisner spoke with conviction of the German defeat. In the train, the officer called him in his wagon and thrust his bayonet right in the back without further ado ...
The document informing about his death was stamped  "Mort pour la France".

After the war, the Union of Veterans Jewish volunteers  and a group of his friends  brought back his ashes Paris. He rests now in the vault of Veterans in the Bagneux cemetery.

Extract from Combattants, Heroes & Martyrs of the Resistance, by David Diamond