NAME: Cohen (née Srulowitz), Nehama

LEHI ALIAS: Shprintza


DATE OF DEATH: January 1,2010

Nehama (Nacha) was born in 1922 in Russia; her parents Yaakov and Rachel Srulowitz had been banished there from Lithuania during World War I. They returned to Lithuania, where Nacha grew up in a traditional, Zionist home. She studied in a Jewish school where they taught Hebrew.

In 1935, her family made aliyah to Ramat Gan, then to Kfar Saba, where both Nacha and her sister Haya connected with IZL. There she met Yehoshua Cohen, and they never parted again. When IZL split, they joined Lehi. The British CID was looking for Yehoshua, so he had to hide in the Kfar Saba orchards. Nacha was his supplier, keeping him in contact with the few Lehi members who were still free. She maintained Yehoshua and his comrades in arms financially and physically. In 1942, the couple moved to Tel Aviv; in September of that year, to Jerusalem. Yehoshua would stay inside all day while Nacha went out on missions and maintained contact with Tel Aviv. The underground was gaining strength, and Nacha played a central role during that period. In spring of 1944, she was seized as they were printing the Lehi periodical HeHazit and sent to Bethlehem Prison. Yehoshua was arrested in October of that year and exiled to Africa. From her first day, Nacha developed a great relationship with the Jewish prisoners. In short order, she attempted escape with her friend Hisia. However, they were caught and put in solitary confinement.

Nacha was released in spring 1947 and returned to active duty, assuming responsibility for the region from Rishon LeZion to Gedera. Then she was transferred to Haifa and recruited there. The death of her mother was very difficult. In July 1948, Yehoshua returned from his exile, and they moved to Jerusalem. After the Bernadotte assassination, they moved to Tel Aviv and decided to marry. Lehi members were being arrested left and right, and so they had to go underground again. Nacha had to hide until the general clemency was granted for Lehi members. Then they returned to Kfar Saba and Yehoshua enlisted in the IDF. In October 1949, their firstborn was born, one year after Yehoshua’s brother had been killed in action. He was named Menahem (Hemi) in his uncle’s honor. In 1952, the family moved to a new kibbutz in the Negev, Sde Boker. Nacha became a central figure there, where she was known as Big Mama of the Kibbutz. There their daughter Reuma was born. Nacha and Yehoshua had seven grandchildren.

She died of cancer on January 1,2010 She was buried in the Sde Boker Cemetery.