Jews in the Australian Military
By Mark Dapin
Published by New South – link to buy book
RRP $39.99 in hardcover • ISBN 9781742235356
More than 7,000 Jews have fought in Australia’s military conflicts, including more than 340 who gave their lives. And yet despite their eagerness to serve, Jewish Australian soldiers have been subjected to prejudices which questioned their willingness to fight as well as their loyalty to the flag.
In this extensively researched book, Mark Dapin records that at least 84 Australian Jews volunteered to fight in the Second Boer War in South Africa with five making the ultimate sacrifice.
The First World War brought Colonel John Monash into the public spotlight when he was chosen to lead the 4th Infantry Brigade to Gallipoli. After serving with distinction at Gallipoli and on the Western Front, he was recognised by the British High Command and in June 1918 he was appointed to the newly created position of Commander of the Australian Army Corps.
Not that Monash was alone among Jews in fighting for Australia. Many Jewish soldiers made significant contributions in both World Wars.
Leonard Keyser, the first Australian Jew to receive the Victoria Cross for his gallantry at the Battle of Lone Pine; Major Eliazar Margolin, awarded the DSO at Gallipoli was renowned for his courage under fire and Peter Isaacson who flew 45 missions with Bomber Command and was awarded the DFC after an air raid on Berlin.
And lastly, or actually first – as Dapin writes about this tragedy in his prologue – we hear about the death of Gregory Sher, an SAS soldier, in Afghanistan in 2009.
Dapin’s book is one that the Jewish community can read with pride.