NAME: Rubowitz, Alexander


DATE OF BIRTH: October 17, 1929

DATE FALLEN: May 6, 1947

Alexander was born in Jerusalem on October 17,1929 to Yehoshua Yedidya and Miriam. His father was a pharmacist in Me’ah She’arim. As a child, he was called Sanny affectionately. He studied in the Tachkemoni School, then in the Maaleh School. He was full of life and every social, but was also serious, modern and sensitive. As a high-schooler, he joined Brit Hashmona’im, then Lehi in 1946. His principal found this out and expelled him, as required by the educational guidelines. Alexander continued his studies and prepared to take matriculation exams externally. However, his primary allegiance was to the underground. He soon was appointed to supervise a cell of youths who distributed propaganda and put up posters.

On 6 May 1947, Alexander told his parents he was going to pick up study materials from a friend, but went with his cell to post bills for the underground in the evening. Special undercover British units lay in wait. These squads were commanded by Major Roy Farran, who directed the abduction personally. Rubowitz struggled, but he was overpowered and forced into a car which then drove off. He was never seen alive again.

His family looked for him to no avail. A thirteen-year-old student told them about the abduction. Farran was identified by his hat, which had fallen off during the altercation, and he was imprisoned by the British authorities, but he was smuggled out and fled to Syria. Lehi killed a number of British soldiers in response. Ultimately, public pressure forced the authorities to bring Farran back to the Land of Israel, where he was put on a show trial and acquitted.

Farran returned to Britain a hero. Twenty years later, historian Giora Goodman found a secret affidavit sworn by Farran’s immediate superior, Brigadier Bernard Fergusson, in which he testified that Farran had confessed to him that he had killed the youth after torturing him to reveal the secrets of the underground.

Lehi never forgot the murder. At Farran’s house one day, a package arrived: a mail bomb. His brother opened it and was killed, while Alexander Rubowitz’s murderer escaped. Farran left Britain for Canada, where he served in public roles. He died at 85 and took the secrets of the matter with him to his grave.

Alexander’s body has never been found, but a stone stands in his memory on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem, in the section for missing soldiers. Students of the Rabbi Pardes School planted a forest in his name. In the Talpiot neighborhood, a street bears his name. Near the place he was abducted on Ussishkin Street, the Jerusalem Municipality put up a plaque.

Alexander knew of weapons caches, meeting places and the names of many underground members. The fact that none of these secrets were exposed means that he must have withstood his torture, dying rather than betraying his comrades in Lehi.

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