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December 05, 1969 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1969-12-05

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Enzo Sereni: Pioneer Italian Zionist Hero


I consistent. Wanting to put into double task was assigned to them:
! practice what he had preached, he a military one, to establish con- I
I became a labourer in the citrus facts with partisans and allied
1 groves of Rehovot. Later on he prisoners of war, and gather mill.-
joined "Plugat Ein Ilarod" which tary information, and a Jewish
founded a kibbutz near Rehovot— one: to get in touch with the
Givat Brenner, and he devoted all Jewish remnants, to encourage
class families: clever, active, who his energies to its development and as far as possible save them.
and consolidation. When the men- Enzo Sereni who was put in charge
had studies
to his credit
some success
and cherished
the in
fond ace of nazism began looming of this venture, was determined to
f large, Enzo Sereni was sent to take part in it personally, despite
but not unreasonable hope for a'
because few people in his age-39. The Jewish National
career in literature or science Eretz Israel knew the mentality Institutions tried to dissuade him,
which he regarded as the highest , i of Western Jews like him. Indeed. but he insisted that he could not
prize life could offer."
at he found an effective approach to send other people on such danger-
This is
...wesi w Sereni himself,
the Jewish youth in Germany. He ous missions unless he himself
35, after 12 years of conquered their hearts and was took part.
the age
pioneer ork in Eretz Israel, and among the main builders of
On May 15, 1944, Sereni was
several missions abroad described Hechalutz in that country, which parachuted behind the front lines
The Most
his youth. He regarded himself was destined to save tens of thous- in Italy. He had embarked on this
as a normal Jewish youngster ands of young Jews. He thus be- mission conscious that "we shall
whose culture, spiritual world came a shaliach, an emissary par , not return unless a miracle hap-
Gift of
and way of thinking were Italian. excellence.
pens." It was the way to self-
while his Jewishness was rather
Shortly after his return from sacrifice: the circle of his life
Them All!
vague: partly religion, partly tra- ' Germany he went to the USA. It was closing and in his death his
dition, partly family customs and ! was a "New World" for him in whole life was epitomised.
pattern of behaviour.
Sereni's love of his Jewish
1 the fullest sense of this term: m;l-
His "Zionist Virus"
lions of Jews divided into different brethen to whom he was sent, his'
When Enzo was deeply involved'. classes, sections and trends who attachment to the country which
in the social and ideological crisis in the Zionist Movement were he helped to build, his hatred of
that beset Italy after World War nevertheless regarded as one solid tyranny against which he was
I, his elder brother, who had at- bloc and taken into consideration ' fighting, the strong links with the I
tended a, Zionist Congress, infected mainly as a source of money, as country of his birth where he
THOSE YOU LOVE—Honor your loved ones, add
him with the "Zionist virus." "It . an object of fund raising. In the hoped to find shelter and assist-
real significance to every occasion. Candles Give
was the full and complete Jewish- ' , USA, too, Enzo Sereni found the ance—all this was in his mind,
Light . Trees Give Life . . . For Hanukah Give
ness. such as he had never known way to the hearts of the youth and and kindled the great light and
before that attracted my brother : opened the way for pioneering fire that were to illuminate his
and cast its spell over him . . . In aliya from that country, not only last way.
"For He Who Plants Trees Plants The Future . . ."
1923 I attended Congress myself. , of members of the first genera- ' Enzo Sereni was captured a
almost still a child, but desirous tion of immigrants who had not short time after his landing and
know The
ing soul
Israel of and
the its
was yet become adjusted to America. for six months was moved from
indeed conquered. While studying but also of "native born Ameri- one camp to another. But he went
: 1 upright, proud, a source of
atthe University and doing re-
, strength and encouragement to
the War

work on the Apocrypha, he During
After the uprising of Rashid Ali, , other prisoners, until he arrived
applied himself wholehearted ly to
i was sent to Iraq. an !at this last station, the infamous
. Enzo Sereni
22100 Greenfield Rd.
Zionist activities.
concentration camp of Dachau
With the impetuosity of youth environment completely different I where he was murdered on No-
Oak Park. Mich. 48237-399-0820
and its almost cruel logic, but from the Jewries of Germany and
also with great enthusiasm, Enzo the USA. His mission there is I vember
18th, 1944.
1 His life and deeds wil live in
arrived at far reaching concluSions shrouded in Oriental mystery and Jewish history, a shining example
before completing his 20th year. was accomplished with the hero-
At a Conference of Italian Jewish ism of underground activities. In to posterity.
Youth held in 1924, in Livorno, he garrets and cellars, placing their
declared: "The solution of the life in jeopardy, the young Jews
Jewish question is to be found in of Baghdad were meeting in
the proletarization of the Jewish order to listen to the words of
people . . . It is necessary for our Enzo Sereni.
World War II plunged Enzo
social structure in Eretz Israel to
be entirely normal and that not Sereni into a grave spiritual crisis. I
only capital and management be He had been a convinced pacifist
Jewish but the farmers and work- who had gone so far as to we:-
ens as well. Unless this aim is , come the Munich Agreement in
achieved we shall be driven out the hope that it would perhaps
from Eretz Israel as we had been prevent the bloodshed and catas-
from Spain, and are being driven trophe that menaced European
out from Poland. Therefore, the Jewry. However, in the spring of
educated and bourgeois youth of 1940. after his return from Europe,
the Diaspora should become prole- he wrote: "Death and sacrifice
tarian and should join the ranks never seemed so necessary for
of the working class in Eretz saving our lives as now . .
Israel—an enormous task which Necessary for whom? For our
may not he accomplished within sons and those who will remain
one generation. but we must make alive after the ravages of the war?
a start because without us no For all of them and also for me
attempt at solving the Jewish and, in fact, first of all for myself
question can succeed.•' 1. . . If we want to live we must
Those were no mere phrases. be prepared to die and to kill, to
because the young student was meet the danger threatening to
preparing himself seriously and engulf us and the whole civilized
thoroughly to translating these world."
Enzo Sereni put himself at the
words into deeds. In 1927. after
completing his studies, he settled disposal of the war effort on the
iin Eretz Israel with his wife and front where he could do most
baby daughter. Ile was not actu- good. For more than a year he
ated by antisemitism or by ex- had been in Egypt. on behalf of
terior pressure: his aliya was the the British authorities, and con-
fruit of deep conviction and free ducted information work among
the many Italian prisoners, and
propaganda activities directed to
Scion of Ancient Family
Enzo Sereni was born in Rome Italy. Ile edited a newspaper,
on April 17, 1905. His father spoke over the radio and visited
Shmuel was personal physician to many POW camps. He was inde-
the king of Italy and lecturer at fatigable but his approach was
the University of Rome, the scion too bold and unconventional in the
of a famous family reputed to eyes of the British Intelligence; he
have been in Rome since the de- was accused of Communism —
struction of the Second Temple. though nothing could be farther
His mother's family. Pontecorvo, from him. He was arrested and
was also well known and active released after a hunger strike,
May the spirit of good will take root and may all the earth
in the cultural and economic life but he had to quit Egypt.
be blessed with the desire for peace for all mankind and
of Italy. Enzo was steeped in Paratrooper
The war effort of the Yishuv
unabridged freedom for all liberty-loving nations.
Italian culture: World War I and
Italy's struggle for a place among had two objectives: to assist in
the great powers, the great ex. achieving victory over nazi Ger-
pectations and social unrest in the many and to save Jews from the
wake of the war and finally the Holocaust. After his return from
ascent of Fascism and the disap Egypt Enzo Sereni joined the
pointment with the new regime "Mossad" in which the rescue-
left their mark on Enzo, and found activities were concentrated. They
expression in his book "The Origin reached their summit in the last
of Italian Fascism." year of the War: volunteers were

(On the 25th Anniversary of
His Death)
of Jerusalem
"I was a 'normal' Italian young-
such in
as our
easily '




mmonm, Funo

Wappy Wanuha

Hordes Agency, Inc.

and Associates

i to parachute behind the German
The Oleh and Shallah
Enzo Sereni was nothing if not lines in occupied Europe. A


December 5, 1969



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