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British Army 'extract' of Jewish soldier ex. Polish exile forces, 1947
Item code: 0010213

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Rare British Army "Extract" (mini military biography) of a Jewish soldier serving in the Polish forces in exile, in World War II; 1947. Though noteworthy on its own for the details contained within (see below), the historical significance of this paper lies in its background: after the Second World War, many soldiers of the Polish Army in exile remained in the British Isles with Poland herself now being under Soviet/Communist control, and the British viewed these Poles with a degree of suspicion; during this time there erupted the "Hebrew Revolt" against the British Mandate in Palestine, and after the July 1946 King David Hotel attack by the underground Irgun/Eztel organization and frequent parcel-bomb attempts by that organization in Britain, the British exercised great caution with trained Jewish soldiers expressing interest in immigrating to Israel.

In this specific case, among the many Polish soldiers stationed in the UK, there were 245 who had just completed service in Palestine as the "Palestine Group" expressing a desire to remain/return there. The Home Office, leery of the impact these trained Jews would have both in Britain and in Palestine, asked that when the Palestine Group returned to the UK, they be kept as far from London as possible. With this goal in mind, the War Office posted this force to Thurso, Scotland, and held them there for security screenings through no mention of their specific segregation from other Polish forces was to be revealed. Their leave from base was also postponed for 2 weeks to give MI5 (British domestic security) a chance to investigate them. When the force members were given leave, the Home Office, MI5 and MI11 (British Field Security) all wanted to know about it.

This extract was prepared at the Engineers Training Centre P.R.C. at Dounreay Airfield (also known as "HMS Tern II", an airfield run by the Admiralty, and soon thereafter to become a nuclear reactor site in 1955 and secondary base for V-Bombers in the cold war) in Thurso, Caithness, Scotland, by a Polish Record Officer, Lieutenant Brzezinka, from the record sheet of a Lance Corporal Markus Cukerberg (born 1896). The document is stamped by the "Polish Forces Engineers Training Centre". Summarizing details in the bio, Cukerberg arrived in Iran (probably from Poland via the USSR) and began to serve in 1942 "under British command"; he faced a Polish recruiting board medical exam in October 1943 and on the same day was assigned by the Polish Recruiting Office to the ordnance services in Basheet (Gaza/Palestine?). His service record shows duty in Palestine from November 1942 until February 1943; membership in the 37th Ordnance Company in March 1943; service in the Italian Campaign, from January 1944 until May 1945, and service again in Palestine, in the "Palestine Group" from March 1947. This document was prepared in May that same year. Cuckerberg earned the Monte Cassino Cross in March 1945, the 1939-45 Star / Italy Star in December 1945, the Military Medal in April 1946, and the 2nd Corps Distinction in September 1946. In excellent, preserved condition with minor edge wear and a few small tears.

מילות מפתח: מיליטריה מיליטאריה מסמכים ניירת תעודות תעודה אישורים צבאית צה"ל ספרים חוברת חוברות יהודי גדודים עבריים ראשון להיודה בריגדה לגיון רגימנט מנדט משטרת משטרה ביטחון נוטר נוטרים פלשתינה