NAME: Serbero (née Avigdor), Nizhia

DATE OF BIRTH: August 27, 1916

DATE OF DEATH: November 18, 2002

Nizhia was born in August 1916 in Safed to Shoshana and Rahamim Avigdor, both of whom had been born in the Land of Israel. Her father was from Tiberias. Nizhia finished studying in the Kol Israel Haverim (Alliance) School in Safed. She was a member of HaNoar HaOved.

Nizhia joined the Nationalist Hagana (Hagana Bet). She met Moshe Serbero, a young engineer who had arrived two years earlier from Estonia, and they married. In 1937, Hagana Bet split, creating IZL, which she and Moshe joined because of its policy of “breaking restraint.” Its members trained with firearms and explosives, setting out on retributive attack against the Arab rioters. Moshe and Nizhia then moved to Haifa.

In July 1938, after the first such attack, Moshe was arrested but soon released. In 1939, the British published the White Paper, and the IZL began attacking the Mandate. The same year, World War II began. Disputes about how to act towards the British led to a split in IZL, and Lehi arose. Nizhia and Moshe, pure idealists who loved the Land of Israel and longed to liberate it, joined Yair in Lehi. Moshe was soon arrested a second time, but he would not be released until the State of Israel had been established. He spent seven years in detainment in Israel and abroad, while Nizhia was alone with the babies. These years were extremely difficult.

When Moshe was arrested, Amnon was a toddler, while their daughter Sarah was an infant.

Nizhia’s privations were beyond description. She supported the family and worked at the Michsaf Company. This work helped her keep the family afloat, to find them a place to live (Holon, Green neighborhood), and to allow the children to have the basic necessities and education. Still, this difficult situation did not keep her from Lehi activities. Members would come and go from her home, weapons were stored there, messages and letters were brought from Moshe in prison or various detention camps (Sarafand, Acre, Mizra, Latrun and the various camps in Africa, where he was exiled with 251 IZL and Lehi members, to be freed only after the State was established).

Nizhia suffered through seven years of waiting for her husband, missing him terribly and struggling mightily to support their family, but her spirit never wavered. When he returned, Moshe enlisted in the IDF and reached the rank of first lieutenant.

After the war, he worked as an engineer, being appointed as the engineer of the central region of the Public Works Department.

In addition to Amnon, who passed away at 37 of cancer, they had three daughters, Sarah, Meira and Shoshana, as well as numerous grandchildren.

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