1910 – 2000
Appointed as the second commanding officer of the Women’s Corps (see “CHEN:” Women’s Corps of the Israel Defense Forces) in 1949, Colonel Shoshana Werner was born in 1910 in Lvov, Poland, where she attended a Hebrew high school and began studying pharmacology. However, she did not obtain a degree before immigrating to Palestine in 1933. After working first as a fruit-picker in Rehovot, she moved to the Weizmann Institute, where she was employed in the Preserves Department of its experimental station. In fact, this was a cover for the production of TNT.
In 1942, after some years of membership in the Haganah, she was among the first sixty-six women who volunteered for the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) of the British Army. Having completed officer training, she served as a company commander in Gaza, as well as in Egypt and in Syria, with the rank of captain.
When the IDF Women’s Corps was established she became the first commander of the women’s training camp and commander of Battalion 201 in the center and south of Israel. In 1949 she became commanding officer of the Women’s Corps and on May 2, 1949 was appointed to head its staff, a post which had for reasons of economy been reduced to chief inspector of the corps. During her term of office, the servicewomen were posted directly to the units in which they were due to serve, and the corps’s command staff was abolished. Women inspectors were posted in district commands in the air force and navy, the medical corps and the other units.
Werner advised the chief of staff on topics related to women’s service and occupations, supervised the corps’s training camp, dealt with disciplinary issues and fought for the ensuring of appropriate conditions for women in matters of rank, discipline, jurisdiction, health, equipment, accommodation and welfare.
On completing her military service in 1952 with the rank of colonel, Werner proceeded to France to study social work at the Paul Baerwald School of Social Work. On returning to Israel she became director of the Women’s League House in Tel Aviv (Beit ha-Halutzot) and later coordinator of the division for higher education of the Histadrut executive. She served as head of the Council for Jewish Welfare Services in the Tel Aviv district and for many years held the post of Secretary-General of the Union of Social Workers in the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor).
She died in Kefar Sava at the age of ninety.