Yaakov, son of Yitzhak and Esther, was born in 1926 in Izmir, Turkey. The family had a haberdashery, and the father made a good living for the family of seven. The father had Italian citizenship, and Nissim was sent to study in Lycée Saint-Joseph. One of his brothers made aliyah in 1936. Nissim, another brother and his mother made aliyah in 1943. Nissim read Yair’s writings in French, and he was very impressed by them.
In 1945, he joined Lehi. Throughout his time in Lehi, he took part in many operations; one in particular he remembered was attacking the British camps on the Tel Aviv seashore to confiscate weapons.
In June 1946, he was part of the attack on the Haifa Railway Workshops. He was captured along with eighteen other fighters at the entrance to Kfar Ata. They were condemned to death by hanging; he spent two weeks in solitary confinement, wearing the red uniform of those on death row. However, a difficult public campaign convinced the authorities to commute it to a life sentence. The Jewish prisoners remained in Acre Prison until the State was established. As the Arab-Jewish conflict intensified, prison became a very dangerous place for Jewish prisoners alongside Arab prisoners. The British therefore transferred the Jewish prisoners, including Nissim, to Jerusalem, but it was dangerous there as well. Then they were moved to Atlit, which until that point had been only a detention camp; now, it was a prison for convicted felons as well. The last days in Atlit were extremely stressful, with threats, attacks and aggressive searches by the British soldiers.
Nissim, together with five Lehi prisoners and five IZL prisoners, were taken as hostages to guarantee safe passage for the remaining British soldiers as they withdrew. The hostages were sent to Bat Galim, where the British soldiers resided. Nissim and his friends remained trapped in the camp until 28 June, until the last British soldier left. Then they were released, by representatives of the LeAsireinu organization and Israel Police officers. Nissim immediately went to enlist in the IDF. He was discharged for medical reasons. He started working at a garage, but he eventually got a job at Bank Discount, eventually reaching a management position. He was branch manager in various places in Tel Aviv and the region.
In 1956, he married Rachel Cohen. They have a son, a daughter and grandchildren. Nissim and his family live in Tel Aviv.