NAME: Ribbenbach Haim

LEHI ALIAS: Petachya


DATE FALLEN: June 17, 1946

Haim was born in Skierniewice in central Poland in 1924 to Tuvia and Malka, and he had four brothers and one sister. His father was Zionist and nationalist, and when Haim was an infant, the family made aliyah and settled in Tel Aviv. Haim studied in the Tachkemoni School and was a Beitar member. At age seventeen, he volunteered for the Notrim, joining the Jewish Settlement Police.

In 1943, he joined Lehi out of the belief that it was necessary to expel the British from the Promised Land. He was one of its most brave and daring fighters. He trained with firearms and explosives, participating in numerous combat operations. He believed that every such operation hastened the liberation of the homeland. Together with his good friend Uri, he always volunteered. They would ride bicycles together to put up posters in the Tel Aviv suburbs. When he returned, he would say: “This time I returned home safe, but in one battle or another, I will fall. We all known this. This is the nature of war.”

On November 1,1945 Haim was part of the IZL-Lehi joint attack on the Lod train station, as part of the Jewish Resistance Movement. Later, he blew up warplanes at the Kfar Syrkin airfield. He also was involved in other major operations.

In 1945, he married his girlfriend Rachel, daughter of Yosef and Leah Cohen, Tiberias veterans. On December 27,1945 their son Eliyahu was born. Six months later, on June 17,1946 Haim joined the Haifa Railroad Workshops operation. This site was a central location for repairing train-cars and locomotives from across the Middle East, containing specialized equipment. Haim was part of the unit which broke in, and he was at the head, as was his wont. Suddenly there was gunfire from one of the cars. Haim was the first to be wounded, and his comrades heard him cry out “I’m hit!” Next Aryeh was wounded.

The operation was a success, beyond their wildest imaginings. The facility was mostly destroyed, causing extreme damage to the British and interrupting rail service for a while, until new supplies could be shipped from England.

As for the fighters, they had to flee while carrying three wounded. They also had to leave the bodies of Petachya and Aryeh in the field, as they were beyond saving. Their getaway vehicle was a truck covered in a tarp, but it hit a British roadblock. The soldiers inside opened fire.

The final tally was eleven killed in action and twenty-two captured. Of the latter, four were young women and eight were injured. Haim’s friend Uri was also among the dead. Haim’s younger brother Menahem fell in a different Lehi operation.

Haim was buried in the Haifa Cemetery, in the Lehi section.