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About Kibbutz Netzer Sereni
Kibbutz Netzer Sereni belongs to the Gezer Region County and is located near the surrounding towns of Be’er Ya’akov and Ness Tziona. The kibbutz was founded in 1948 by a group of new immigrants, who were Holocaust survivors from Buchenwald concentration camp. This determined group of young adults belonged to the United Pioneer Youth, or better known in Hebrew as the “Nocham“ movement. The kibbutz encompasses an area of 6,000 dunams, or 1,500 acres.
While they were still in Germany, the survivors united into a training group and named the group Kibbutz Buchenwald, a name that was preserved when the kibbutz moved to its permanent location in 1948.
In 1950 the kibbutz name was changed to “Netzer”, a Hebrew word that translates to a blossoming branch that grows from a cut tree trunk. This name symbolizes the survivors’ hopes and dreams to transform the Jewish nation’s tragedy into a new and thriving chapter.
In 1952, 50 families who were members of Kibbutz Givat Brenner joined Kibbutz Netzer. The group left their previous kibbutz due to an ideological split regarding the level of socialism by which the kibbutz would be run. The members from Kibbutz Givat Brenner wanted to honor the name of their founding kibbutz member, Enzo Sereni, one of the first Italian immigrants who came to Eretz Yisrael in 1927. Enzo Sereni was also a founding member of the Jewish parachuting unit in WWII, whose mission was to penetrate enemy lines in order to make contact with the underground fighters and surrounding Jewish communities in Europe. Sereni bravely parachuted into enemy grounds in his home country of Italy, but was captured and then executed on November 18, 1944. His name was immortalized in the new name given to Kibbutz Netzer Sereni.
In the first years, the kibbutz members worked mainly with agriculture: field crops, citrus fruits, vineyards, dairy cows, chickens, and greenhouses. Later on the kibbutz involved itself in industry: metal works, furniture, and several small factories.
In 2000, Netzer Sereni went through an ideological and lifestyle change. Today it is defined as a renewal kibbutz or a privatized kibbutz. While it still deals in agriculture, producing field crops and citrus fruits with a thriving dairy, it no longer deals in industry, but rather rents out its factory buildings.
As of 2014, Netzer Sereni has an active community of 650 people, ranging in ages from newborns to its eldest member who is over 100 years old. The members enjoy a communal education system and various cultural activities.
The kibbutz has green open spaces, a lush variety of trees and flowers and in the heart of the community stands the statue named “From Disaster to Renewal” by Batya Lishansky that symbolizes the struggle and rebirth of the community members. The kibbutz also houses a library, memorial room that pays tribute to the founding members who lost loved ones in the Holocaust, kindergartens, elderly workshops, supermarket, medical and dental clinics, retirement home, swimming pool, pub, basketball and tennis courts and playground. There are plans for expansion and absorption for its third generation members.
Until 2005 the kibbutz children studied in the regional elementary school on the name of Enzo Sereni that was located in the historical buildings on the Spohn Farm, which lies in the outskirts of the kibbutz area, and the high school children studied in Kibbutz Givat Brenner. Then in 2005, all school children began to study in the schools of the Gezer Regional County in the town of Beit Hashmonai.
Historical Sights in the Kibbutz
Spohn Farm: This is a farm established in 1889 by Reverend Johan Ludwig Schneller from the German Templer movement, a Christian Protestant movement founded in Germany in the mid-19th century, whose goal was to help the Jews move to the land and build it up in the hopes of speeding up the coming of the Messiah. In 1897 an agricultural school was founded in the farm, run by the German deacon, Matthaus Spohn. The buildings that remained from the farm are located on a hill on the northeastern side of Netzer Sereni. When the founders of the kibbutz took the grounds, they started the kibbutz in these buildings and later on, expanded down the hill towards the current residential area of the kibbutz.
Allenby House (common name): This building was originally part of the Spohn farm, and in 1917 the British General Edmond Allenby took the house for his headquarters while fighting the Ottoman Empire forces. The building was renovated into an elegant hall used for weddings and other joyous events under the name “Havat Allenby”, or “Allenby’s Farm”.
For more information about the history of the kibbutz, please see an attached article by David B. Green.
Mailing Address: Kibbutz Netzer Sereni, 7039500, Israel.
Ulpan/Volunteers Facebook page: Netzer Sereni (Ulpan/Volunteers Alumni)