Jewish Facts of Life

On June 20, 1942*, the Nazis began to murder masses of Jewish people at Auschwitz. On, June 22, The Jewish Brigade was formed to help fight the Nazis.

The Jewish Infantry Brigade Group was actually a military formation of the British Army. More than 30,000 Jewish people living in the Holy Land volunteered to serve. Seven hundred thirty-four died during the war.  While the brigade was composed mainly of Middle Eastern Jews, it included a variety of Jewish and non-Jewish soldiers so that by 1944 over 50 nationalities were represented. Many were refugees who had fled from countries that were occupied or controlled by the Axis powers in Europe and Ethiopia. Some of the Jewish Brigade members later became key participants in the soon-to-be-formed new State of Israel’s Israel Defense Force.

(*The website This Day in Jewish History,” http://www.ou.org/about/judaism/bhyom/, says the Jewish Brigade was formed in 1942, while Wikipedia says 1944.)

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