Jewish Brigade is Founded, 1942
Updated: Jun 22, 2021
On This Day in Jewish History: June 22nd, 1942 ✡
The Jewish Brigade, an infantry regiment of the British Army, is formed to fight the Axis during World War II.
Made up mostly of members of the Haganah and volunteers, the Jewish Brigade Group fought under a version of the future Israeli flag. By 1944, the Brigade would include more than 5,000 Jewish volunteers, organized into three infantry battalions and various other additional units.
Although most of the units were sent to fight in the Egyptian & North African theaters, by 1945, the Brigade was fighting directly against Nazis in Italy under the command of Brigadier Ernest Benjamin (Canadian-born British Jewish officer). Interestingly, the units that were sent to North Africa fought alongside a Palestinian Arab battalion.
Following the Nazi surrender, the Jewish Brigade soldiers stationed in Italy and throughout Europe helped in creating DP camps while assisting in the underground entry of Jewish refugees into British Mandatory Palestine and what would soon be Israel. By 1946, the Brigade was disbanded - about 30,000 Jewish volunteers would end up serving under Britain throughout the war and just over 700 were killed in action.