NAME: Nissim, Gershon

LEHI ALIAS: Tzidkiyahu

DATE OF BIRTH: November 23, 1921

Gershon, was born on November 23, 1921, in Sofia, Bulgaria, to a Zionist family. His father, Solomon ben Nissim, was active in Maccabee and the General Zionists. His mother Oro worked for WIZO. In 1932, the couple took part in the very first Maccabiah Games; this experience strengthened their love for and connection to the Land of Israel. His uncle, Marco Gershon, was active in the Revisionist Party, and he translated the works of Zeev Jabotinsky into Bulgarian. This heavily influenced young Gershon in his Zionist education. He finished primary school in Sofia and then joined the Beitar movement. After his mother’s death, he was sent to a French boarding school in Plovdiv, and he completed his studies in 1941. He was also active in the Af al Pi program, under the auspices of the local Beitar chapter.

When the Nazis invaded, he was sent to a work camp, but he was able to continue his Beitar activities, with the hope that he would one day be able to make aliyah, as finally happened in 1944.

When he arrived in the Land of Israel and learned of the split, he joined Lehi to fight British imperialism.

In Lehi, he was trained in firearms and assigned to the operations division. He was part of the operation to seize weapons from the British Army base at Tel Litwinsky. He also took part in a joint operation with IZL during the Jewish Resistance Movement, against the Lod train station; against the army base in Holon, to acquire weapons; and against Kfar Syrkin, in which British combat airplanes were blown up. He also translated promotional materials in the newspaper HeHazit from French to Bulgarian. It was then sent to Bulgaria for those making aliyah. In 1946, he took part in the Lehi attack on the Haifa Railway Workshops, in which he was wounded, captured and then sentenced to death. This was commuted to life imprisonment. In the Acre prison-break by the IZL, he escaped and returned to active duty with the underground, being placed in charge of the Lehi branch in the center of the country.

After a meeting in May 1948 to guide Lehi members as they enlisted in the IDF, Gershon happened to be in the Egged central bus station in Tel Aviv as it was being bombed by the Egyptian Air Force. He was severely wounded and lost his right leg.

He went on to be very active in the elections for the First Knesset, as part of the Fighters’ List. After the War of Independence, he opened a publishing house. In 1954, he married Matty Nissim, a fellow Bulgarian. They had two children, Orit and Shlomo, as well as six grandchildren.

Gershon was active in the erection of the Lehi memorial in Kiryat Ata, commemorating the eleven fighters who fell in the attack on the Haifa Railway Workshops. He published a number of issues of Eidei HaMaas, as well as volumes for Lehi youth.

He retired in 1997.

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