JEWISH BRIGADE GROUP, the only military unit to serve in World War II in the British army – and in fact in all the Allied forces – as an independent, national Jewish military formation. It was made up mainly of Jews from Palestine. The brigade had its own emblem, a gold Magen David on a background of blue-white-blue stripes and bearing the inscription "חי״ל (the initials of the Hebrew name חֲטִיבָה יְהוּדִית לוֹחֶמֶת – Jewish Fighting Brigade) – Jewish Brigade Group." It saw service in Egypt, on the north Italian front, and in northwest Europe, in the years 1944–46. The establishment of the brigade was the final result of prolonged efforts by the yishuv and the Zionist movement to achieve recognized participation and representation of the Jewish people in the war against the Nazis, to lift the mantle of anonymity from the war effort made by the yishuv with its tens of thousands of volunteers, and to reinforce the yishuv's political standing and promote the aims of Zionism. The British authorities, opposed as they were to these aims, were reluctant to have Jews serving in fully fighting units and confined them to auxiliary corps, while the infantry was largely employed on guard duties in Palestine. These obstacles were overcome only after a sustained and unrelenting campaign, headed by chaim weizmann in London and by Moshe Shertok (sharett ), head of the jewish agency Political Department, in Jerusalem. In 1940 the Jews of Palestine were permitted to enlist in Jewish companies attached to the East Kent Regiment (the "Buffs"), and 15 such companies came into being. In 1942–43 these companies were formed into three infantry battalions of a newly established "Palestine Regiment"; the battalions, whose men had previously served only in Palestine, were moved to Cyrenaica and Egypt, but there, too, as in Palestine, they did not receive their full equipment and continued to be engaged primarily in guard duties. The Jewish soldiers stepped up their demands for participation in the fighting and for the right to display the Jewish flag. It was not until September 1944, however, that the British government agreed to the establishment of a "reinforced brigade" which would be fully trained and then join the troops at the front. The brigade was composed of the three infantry battalions of the "Palestine Regiment," a field artillery regiment, and various other service and auxiliary units, largely made up of the Palestine Jewish units – particularly of the Royal Army Service Corps, which had seen service in North Africa. Brigadier ernest frank benjamin , a Canadian-born Jew serving in the Royal Engineers, was appointed brigade commander; the battalion commanders were British, while the company commanders were mostly Jewish. Some refugees and "illegal" immigrants also joined the brigade, and some Jews serving in British units were transferred to it. The total strength of the brigade was approximately 5,000. After a period of training in Egypt, the brigade was moved to Italy, where it joined the Eighth Army and continued its training until the end of February 1945. It then took up positions on the Alfonsini sector of the front, where it soon engaged in the fighting, initiating two attacks (March 19–20, 1945), and took prisoners. Moving to another sector of the front, on the Senio River, the brigade found itself facing a German parachute division. In the course of further operations, the three battalions crossed the Senio on April 9, establishing a bridgehead which they broadened the following day. The brigade's casualties consisted of 30 killed and 70 wounded; 21 of its men were awarded military distinctions and 78 were mentioned in despatches. In May 1945 the brigade was moved to northeast Italy, and it was there that it met for the first time with survivors of the Holocaust. Rescue committees were established in the brigade units to care for the Jewish refugees, while maintaining secret contact with the Jewish authorities' Merkaz la-Golah ("Diaspora Center"; see Beriḥah ). The brigade thus became a major factor in the care of the Jewish survivors of the ghettos and concentration camps. Without neglecting their military duties, the Jewish soldiers extended systematic aid to the refugees, provided them with clothes and educational facilities for their children, guided them across the frontiers, and smuggled them into Palestine. These activities continued when the brigade was moved to Holland and Belgium in July 1945. Some members of the brigade were attached to the tracing service of the occupation authorities and in their search for surviving Jews got as far as Poland and Czechoslovakia. In the summer of 1946, in the wake of the increasing tension between Britain and the yishuv, the authorities decided on the disbandment of the brigade; most of its men were returned to Palestine and discharged there. Apart from its contribution to the war effort against Nazi Germany, the brigade fulfilled two historic functions: it was a decisive factor in strengthening the staying power of the Jewish survivors and refugees in Europe, and the experience it gained in military organization and in battle subsequently became one of the foundations of the Israel Defense Forces. Many of the officers of the Israel army, among them two chiefs of staff, M. Makleff and Ḥ. Laskov, had seen previous service in the Jewish Brigade.   See also Israel, State of : Historical Survey (1880–1948); Israel, State of: Defense (Ottoman and Mandatory Period); zionism : Zionist Policy. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: L. Rabinowitz, Soldiers from Judea (19452); Esco Foundation for Palestine, A Study of Jewish, Arab and British Policies, 2 (1947), 1020–35; Y. Lifshitz, Sefer ha-Berigadah ha-Yehudit (1947); D. Ever-Hadani, Am be-Milḥamto (19543); Y. Bauer, Flight and Rescue: Brichah (1970), index; idem, From Diplomacy to Resistance (1970), index; B.M. Casper, With the Jewish Brigade (1947); Z. Shefer, Sefer ha-Hitnaddevut (1949); Y. Allon, Shield of David (1970).

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Игры ⚽ Нужно решить контрольную?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Jewish Brigade — For other Jewish regiments, see Jewish legion (disambiguation) . Infobox Military Unit unit name=Jewish Brigade caption=Insignia and sleeve patch of the Jewish Brigade country=United Kingdom type=Infantry branch=Army dates=1944 1946 command… …   Wikipedia

  • Brigade Juive — Insigne de la Brigade juive La Brigade juive (nom officiel en anglais Jewish Brigade Group of the British Army; en hébreu חטיבה יהודית לוחמת, חי ל brigade juive combattante) était une unité de la 8e armée britannique composée de volontaires juifs …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Brigade juive — Insigne de la Brigade juive La Brigade juive (nom officiel en anglais Jewish Brigade Group of the British Army; en hébreu חטיבה יהודית לוחמת, חי ל brigade juive combattante) était une unité de la 8e armée britannique composée de volontaires Juifs …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jewish Agency —    Under the mandate for Palestine that was assigned to Great Britain by the League of Nations in 1921, a provision was included for the establishment of a Jewish Agency that would serve as the executive and political policy making body for the… …   Historical dictionary of the Holocaust

  • Jewish military history — focuses on the military history aspect of the Jewish people in Jewish history from ancient times until the modern age.Ancient IsraelitesWhile complete details in the Biblical account of a system of fighting forms are not extant, the Midrashic,… …   Wikipedia

  • JEWISH LEGION — JEWISH LEGION, military formation of Jewish volunteers in World War I who fought in the British army for the liberation of Ereẓ Israel from Turkish rule. When Turkey entered the war on the side of the Central Powers (Oct. 30, 1914), two different …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Jewish partisans — were fighters in irregular military groups participating in the Jewish resistance movement against Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II. A number of Jewish partisan groups operated across Nazi occupied Europe, some comprised of… …   Wikipedia

  • Jewish resistance during the Holocaust — The Jewish resistance during the Holocaust was the resistance of the Jewish people against Nazi Germany leading up to and through World War II. Due to the careful organization and overwhelming military might of the Nazi German State and its… …   Wikipedia

  • Jewish left — The term Jewish left describes Jews who identify with or support left wing, occasionally liberal causes, consciously as Jews, either as individuals or through organizations. There is no one organization or movement which constitutes the Jewish… …   Wikipedia

  • Jüdische Brigade — Ärmelabzeichen der Jüdischen Brigade Zeichen der Jüdischen Brigade …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”