July 17, 2024
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The Untold Story of the Jewish Fighters of World War II

In the midst of the ongoing war in Gaza, an important new museum has recently opened its doors in Israel. The Chaim Herzog Museum of the Jewish Soldier in WWII is welcoming visitors to its beautiful new facility in Latrun, on the campus it shares with the Yad La-Shiryon memorial to the fallen fighters of Israel’s armored corps.

The story of the Shoah and the lost 6 million has always been the dominant theme when speaking of the Jewish people in World War II. That is, until now. With the opening of this state-of-the-art facility, visitors will now hear the untold story of the 1,500,000 Jews from around the world who fought back against the onslaught of the Axis nations. Serving as soldiers, partisans and members of resistance movements, the Jewish people’s participation in the fighting was actually, on a percentage basis, among the highest in the world. Even less well known is that 250,000 of these brave fighters fell in battle.

Rather than telling a story of victimhood, the new museum’s focus is on the Jewish fighters’ participation in all service branches of the militaries around the world. The U.S. had 550,000 Jewish soldiers; 500,000 came from Russia; and another 450,000 fighters were distributed throughout the remaining Allied nations. The museum’s galleries examine the different theaters of war and bring the visitor to a final outstanding historical chapter—the story of the several thousand WWII veterans of Israel’s Machal Brigade. These were the seasoned fighters who came from abroad to assist in the establishment of the State of Israel during the 1948 War of Independence. These veterans of the army, navy and air forces in their home countries bolstered the emergence of the IDF and were an important component of the new Jewish State’s defense.

The complete story of our people during this tragic period in our history is now finally being told with the opening of the museum. Named for Chaim Herzog, Israel’s sixth president and an officer in the British military during the war, the museum will welcome visitors and researchers to experience and make use of its exhibition, research and study facilities.

The museum is currently engaged in a very important project providing families and communities around the world an opportunity to honor their WWII fighters. Through an online public archive, files are being created to individually commemorate as many of these heroes as possible.

Submitting the WWII military documents, records and photos of your loved ones will allow the museum to create a beautiful and permanent tribute to them in Israel.

To learn more about how you can create such an archival file online, simply access the museum’s website, where you will find helpful instructions on how to complete the form and upload information about the soldier: http://www.jwmww2.org/en

The following is a link to a six-minute YouTube video with an overview of the Chaim Herzog Museum of the Jewish Soldier in World War II: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuVWJbPsabI&t=1s


Howie Mischel made aliyah to Israel from Teaneck in 2009. He volunteers in the research library of the Museum of the Jewish Soldier in WWII in honor of his late father, Julius Mischel, a combat veteran wounded in the Battle of the Bulge.

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