Dedicated to the memory of my mother Rachel and my father Moshe murdered by the Nazis in Majdanek camp in May 1943. Benjamin Meirtchak

WE REMEMBER THE FIGHTERS!

JEWISH MILITARY CASUALTIES IN THE POLISH ARMIES IN WORLD WAR II

By BENJAMIN MEIRTCHAK


BACKGROUND
AUTHOR'S INTRODUCTION TO THE ENGLISH EDITION VOLUME I

Approximately 1.5 million Jewish officers and soldiers in the ranks of the Allied regular armies, in Underground national resistance movements, and in Partisan units participated in all theatres of the war fighting the Nazi Foe and Axis Powers. They fought bravely, proved their heroism, showed courage and dedication in their struggle. Their valor made a significant and impressive contribution to the ultimate victory of the Allied Forces in World War II.

Nearly 200.000 Polish Jews fought against Nazi Germany in the ranks of the Polish Armies on Polish soil and in Exile. They defended Poland in September 1939 against the German aggression. They fought in the Polish Armies in exile; in the 1940 defense of France, in the Middle East, in North Africa and in Italy. While serving in the Polish Tank Corps, Air Force and Navy they participated, together with the RAF and British Royal Navy, in the Normandy Landings. The Polish Forces, along with The Red Army, took part in the great offensive, eventually liberating Poland and conquering Germany.

In addition, many Polish Jews fought as part of the Polish, Russian, and French Underground movements. They were also a part of the Palestine Jewish Brigade. Polish Jews fought in the French Army, in the Red Army, and in the British Forces.

Despite the tremendous Jewish military contribution to the Polish war efforts, the official Polish historical bibliography of W.W.II ignores this Jewish phenomena.

The purpose of this book is to rectify this historical injustice and to commemorate the Jewish Fighters in the struggle against Nazi Germany.

POWAZKI MIL. CEM. - WARSAW
Common Grave
pte. Lejb Kichel
buried with Polish falles soldiers


Copyright (C) Benjamin Meirtchak Tel Aviv
All rights reserved

This material can be used for educational and research purpose only, and is fully copyrighted!

The Book may be purchased for USD$ 40.- each volume, (including airmail postage and taxes) ordering from:
The Association of Jewish War Veterans of Polish Armies in Israel
158 Dizengoff St.
63461 Tel Aviv, Israel
Tel: 00-972-3-5225078
Fax: 00-972-3-5236684
Price of the whole 5 volumes series is USD 150.-
Israelis should contact the Association for price and order.


EXCERPTS FROM THE BOOK

FORWARD by Dr. Shmuel Krakowski (Volume I)

Benjamin Meirtchak: JEWISH PRISONERS OF WAR IN GERMAN CAPTIVITY - A CONCISE REVIEW (Volume III)

ANNEX: Jewish Military Casualties In The Polish Resistance Movement In France (Volume IV)

THE LIST - MILITARY CASUALTIES (Volume V - Supplement)

PHOTOS (Volume V - Supplement)


 FOREWORD (Volume II)

By Sir Martin Gilbert
Historian; Fellow of Merton College, oxford

This second volume of Benjamin Meirtchak's work is a remarkable and an important publication. It is remarkable because it represents a considerable amount of extremely hard and patient work, and it is important because it adds a dimension to our knowledge of the Jewish contribution to the defeat of Nazi Germany.

Fifty years have now passed since the end of the Second World War. The murder of six million Jews is becoming recognized and taught in the world as the great crime that it was, against Jewish lives, and against the Jewish life that was such a vibrant part of the pre-war world. The military participation of Jews in the struggle against Nazism is less well-known. In this sphere, Benjamin Meirtchak is engaged in a work of crucial importance.

It is always necessary to try to have accurate statistics. But behind all statistics are people, and it is here that this new volume makes yet another contribution to our recent history: it gives the names of those who were killed, and as many details as it has been possible to gather: date of birth, rank, unit, date of death, place of burial. For children and grandchildren, relatives and friends; and for the fuller recognition of the place of the fallen in the Jewish annals. These details are a major addition to the list of names. As a result, we can identify with them more personally.

It has been said that "statistics don't bleed"; that lists are as dry as dust. The statistical material and the lists assembled here are so powerful that I did not find it possible to read more than a few pages as a time. The first list is in some ways the most poignant of all (though who can ever say that any one story is more or less poignant?). It gives the names of nineteen Polish Jewish soldiers who had been captured by the Red Army during the September 1939 campaign and who died in the Soviet gulag. Karol Abchans, with whom the list opens, was a forty-five-year-old corporal when he died. Captain Walter Jakub, with whom the list ends, was fifty.

In his introduction, Benjamin Meirtchak writes about every element of Polish Jewish participation in the war. Nearly 200,000 Polish Jews took an active part in the war on Polish soil and overseas. Those soldiers who survived, of whom Meirtchak was one, found at the end of the war a vale of tears in their native Poland; Meirtchak dedicates the book to his mother Rachel and father Moshe 'murdered by the Nazis in Majdanek camp in May 1943'. He ended his own war service on the banks of the Elbe, celebrating the victory on the soil of liberated Czechoslovakia. But like almost all his fellow Jewish soldiers, the world that he had fought to save, and the family he had hoped to return to when it was over, had been destroyed.

The work that Benjamin Meirtchak has put into his second volume, and the information which it contains, makes it a monument both to his perseverance, and to the men whose names and fates it records: 1,105 killed inaction in 1939, 294 killed in the fighting in France, Norway and North Africa; 115 killed in Italy and the Middle East; and ninety-six killed in northern Europe from D-Day to VE-Day.

It is a very moving set of lists. Every name has a story hinted at by the details, opening up the imagination to a world of courage and suffering, duty and the final sacrifice. How much our people were wandered in the world of conflict. Liutenant-Engineer Adolf Trocki was born in Vilna and killed in action in France. Flight-Sergeant Edward Weinz was born in Warsaw and killed in action above Budapest. Officer cadet Zygmunt Anszer was born in Kielce and killed in action in Holland. Second Lieutenant Jakub Lieberman was born in Krakow and killed in action at Monte Cassino in Italy.

Officer Cadet Leopold Kuhner was born in Lodz and killed in Libya. Private Marian Hersze was born in Wieliczka and killed at Narvik in Norway.

This book is a work of dedication to all their memories. As such, it enters the central archive of Jewish history as a major contribution to our knowledge, and our sense of belonging to a mighty stream.

Martin Gilbert

Merton College, Oxford

December 1994

 


MILITARY CEM. MOUNT HERZL JERUSALEM
The Monument is dedicated to the memory of Polish Jewish soldiers who fell in action in World War II in the ranks of the Polish Armies (Gen. View)


Copyright (C) Benjamin Meirtchak Tel Aviv
All rights reserved

This material can be used for educational and research purpose only, and is fully copyrighted!
The Book may be purchased for USD$ USD$ 40.- each volume, (including airmail postage and taxes) ordering from:
The Association of Jewish War Veterans of Polish Armies in Israel
158 Dizengof St.
63461 Tel Aviv, Israel
Tel: 00-972-3-5225078
Fax: 00-972-3-5236684
Price of the whole 5 volumes series is USD 150.-
Israelis should contact the Association for price and order.


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