NAME: Patron, Yehuda

LEHI ALIAS: Benzion

DATE OF BIRTH: 1919

DATE OF DEATH: August 8, 2013

Yehuda Gershon “Benzion” Patron was born on Passover night 1919 in Warsaw, to Moshe Mordechai and Hannah, a Hasidic family which observed religion and tradition. His education was Haredi. At a young age, Yehuda was captivated by Jabotinsky’s ideology, but he wanted to maintain his connection to his father’s traditions. Thus, he joined Brit Hashmona’im, which was like Beitar but had a religious identity.

On 22 August 1939, Yehuda made illegal aliyah on the ship Parita as part of the Af al Pi program under the auspices of the Revisionist Movement. His journey was long and difficult, but he managed to bring a Torah scroll with him, a gift from the movement in Poland to the movement in Israel.

Yehuda was arrested together with the other Mapilim on the ship, and he spent ten days in the Sarafand (Tzrifin) Camp. As he was wont to say, “I arrived in the Land of Israel when the weekly Torah portion began with the words ‘When you go to war against your enemies,’ and I was freed from British detainment in Tzrifin when the weekly Torah portion began with the words ‘And it shall be when you come to the land.’”

In 1941, Yehuda was recruited to Lehi by his friend and future brother-in-law, Aryeh “Yitzhak” Rosenson. In his house in Bnei Brak (now 40 Jerusalem Street), the underground had an arms cache. Yehuda also attended Lehi weapons training courses in Zikhron Meir in Bnei Brak. He also participated in many operations organized by his good friend Menahem “Yehuda” Angel, aimed at helping Lehi members who had escaped detention.

In 1942, he married Carmela Stern (who passed away in 2007). They had two children, Meira Stein and Rabbi Moshe Patron. Yehuda worked in the Kaunas metalworking factory in Tel Aviv.

After the Bernadotte assassination, Yehuda and other Lehi members were arrested. He spent a while in prison. During the War of Independence, he was released but required to report to his factory to produce weapons. Yehuda ended up serving many years in the Engineering Corps. After the factory closed, due to his Lehi past, Yehuda had trouble finding work, and therefore he opened his own business, a store in Bnei Brak.

Yehuda passed away in 2013, exactly seventy-four years after he made aliyah, which he treated as a second birthday. He left a son and a daughter, as well as eight grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.

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