The Jewish brigade: an army with two masters, 1944-1945
Although a million Jews were fighting for the Allies during World War II, the British government (which controlled Palestine) would not form an independent Jewish unit, Finally, in the face of public pressure, the Jewish Brigade was created in 1944. The Brigade fought against the Germans in Italy during the last year of the war, distinguishing itself in action, and gave Jews across the world pride at seeing, for the first time, soldiers fighting under the flag of the Star of David.
After the Third Reich had surrendered, however, the Jewish Brigade's work was not yet finished. Unofficial "revenge squads" from the Brigade began their own unauthorized retribution against Nazis directly involved in the slaughter of Jews. It is estimated chat as many as 1,500 Nazis were "eliminated" by these roving squads during the immediate post-war period.
After the creation of the state of Israel, the Jewish Brigade formed the nucleus of the Israeli Army and provided it with no less than 35 generals. The subsequent success of Israel in its combats with Arab neighbors owes much to the core of professionalism that the nation inherited from the Jewish Brigade.
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