Enzo Sereni

Enzo Sereni was born in Rome in 1905 into a well-established Jewish family. His father, a University lecturer was doctor at the royal court, and his uncle head of the organization of Jewish communities in Italy. His mother's family also boasted a number of well-known personalities. Although Enzo was deeply rooted in Italian society and culture, he was very active in Zionist circles and, in 1922, took on the job of Secretary to the movement.

On finishing his university studies in philosophy in 1927, he and his wife Ada left for the Land of Israel (Eretz Israel) where he worked in the citrus plantations in Rehovot and joined the group of Kibbutz Ha-Me'uchad that founded Givat Brenner.

In 1932 he was sent to Germany to help strengthen the Zionist Youth Movement there, and after Hitler's rise to power, he went there a second time to serve in organizing the efforts of the large Jewish Pioneer (Ha'Khalutz) movement to get Jewish capital out of Germany. In 1936 he was sent to the United States to help organize the Zionist movement there.

In Eretz Israel he was active in the effort to create a united Kibbutz movement. He was, throughout his life, a believer in reaching an understanding with the Arabs; he established relations with the neighbouring Arab villages and preached non-violence. Nevertheless, the events of WW-II deeply influencing him, he volunteered for the British army. British Army Intelligence in Cairo gave him an important job in the field of anti-fascist propaganda via the radio and newspapers and through personal contact with Italian prisoners of war.

At the instigation of British Intelligence, who didn't approve of his methods of work, he was arrested by the Egyptian police, freed after an eleven day hunger strike and returned to Eretz Israel.

1942 found him in Iraq organizing the illegal Pioneer movement. On his return to Eretz Israel, he served the Mossad Le'Aliya Bet, helping to organize the clandestine immigration of Jews from Nazi rule to Eretz Israel.

Enzo Sereni was one of the initiators of the plan to parachute Jewish agents into Nazi-occupied Europe in which he insisted on taking part in spite of his age. On May 15, 1944 he was parachuted into Northern Italy but was captured immediately. According to records, he was shot in Dachau concentration camp on Nov. 18, 1944. Enzo Sereni was one of the seven martyrs of the paratrooper unit who were captured and then murdered by the Nazis.

Enzo Sereni, a scholar, was a great linguist and a deep and original thinker. He was aslo very much a man of action, a brave and daring initiator, with a personal charm that made him numerous friends.

One of Aliya Bet (clandestine immigration) vessels was named after him, as well as Kibbutz Netzer Sereni and many streets throughout Israel.

The stamp was issued in 1988. Designer: Z. Narkiss.