NAME: Rabb (née Goldberg), Penina

LEHI ALIAS: Ruth

DATE OF BIRTH: September 18, 1920

DATE OF DEATH: March 5, 2014

Penina was born in 1920 in Bereza Kartuska, Poland (now Belarus), to Yocheved and Israel Goldberg. The parents were Zionist and traditional. The family, seven strong, made aliyah in 1936. Two of Penina’s siblings, who were already grown up and married, stayed behind and perished in Holocaust.

Penina studied in elementary school and gymnasium in her hometown. After making aliyah, she joined the IZL together with her brother Hayim. After the split, she moved to Lehi, where she had various jobs. She dealt with supporters, gaining access to apartments for the underground and finding places for the members to meet and fugitives to hide. In 1943, after twenty Lehi fighters escaped Latrun, she had to rent a house for them. Shlomo Alkalai posed as her husband, and “the Isaacsons” rented the Appelbaum house at 15 Katzir Street in Tel Litwinsky (Tel HaShomer). This would be Gera’s residence and the central headquarters of Lehi from 1944 to 1946. The location was nicknamed Huldah. Zvi Frunin, veteran Lehi member, stayed there as well; the CID was looking for him, so he pretended to be a cousin of “the Isaacsons.” The house had a beautiful garden with trees and flowers; it was close to the American Army Hospital, which helped keep it above suspicion as an underground hideout.

Penina provided everything for those living there. Once, when the settlement was under curfew by the British Army, she convinced Gera to stay put and not flee to the orchards, a very dangerous move. In the end, the British never arrived, and Penina’s advice saved Gera from taking a tremendous and unnecessary risk.

Penina helped expose the CID agent, Yaakov Hilbitz. Her brother, who worked in a hotel, told her about Yaakov’s clandestine meetings with the CID there. She passed the information on to Gera.

Penina married Moshe Rabb of the IZL in 1947. They had two sons, Micah and David. Penina is an IDF widow and pensioner.

Join our mailing list