NAME: Ratzon, Asher

LEHI ALIAS: Zion

DATE OF BIRTH: January 2, 1922

DATE OF DEATH: December 28, 2019

Asher, son of Hannah and Saadia, was born in 1922 in Aden. He made aliyah with his parents on a tourist visa in 1932. The family had eleven souls, including six boys and three girls. Despite their difficult financial situation, the family settled in Tel Aviv. Asher had to go to work in order to help his parents. His older brother established an organization for immigrants from Aden, in order to improve the socioeconomic situation of their fellow immigrants. The organization hosted cultural events under the auspices of the nationalist movement and the IZL nationalist cells. This led Asher towards the underground.

He joined Lehi in 1943, earning the nom de guerre Zion. He put up posters and distributed the HaMaas newspaper. He also conducted surveillance and investigation, taking part in operation to seize money to fund the underground. He trained with firearms and concealed arms caches. He took part in the attack on the Kfar Syrkin airfield, the attack on the Kalaniot base on Yarkon Street in Tel Aviv, the attack on the Tel Litwinsky base to confiscate weapons, the attack on the Holon army base (in which a lot of equipment was stolen from the Senegalese soldiers). Asher was also part of the Haifa Railroad Workshops operation in 1946, and he was captured along with seventeen of his comrades, all sentenced to death. However, their sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. In Acre Prison, he took part in digging the tunnel which the prisoners hoped to use to escape, but they were transferred to Jerusalem Central Prison ahead of the evacuation of British forces. The tunnel remained hidden until Acre was liberated by the IDF. From Jerusalem, Asher and the other Jewish prisoners were transferred to Atlit.

At this point, two men were selected to escape inside suitcases. Asher was one of them. The operation was successful, and they managed to escape.

After the Bernadotte assassination, he enlisted in the IDF and served in a unit supplying fuel.

He married Rachel Israeli, born in Aden. After the War of Independence, he worked for the Tel Aviv Municipality, and afterwards he worked for 45 years as a cabdriver in Yael Daroma. Asher and Rachel have four children.

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