A history of Jews in the military

March 26, 2017 by J-Wire
Read on for article

Mark Dapin’s new book Jewish Anzacs: Jews in the Australian Military will be released next month.

Mark Dapin

This landmark history of Australian Jews in the military, covers from the First Fleet to the recent war in Afghanistan. More than 7000 Jews have fought in Australia’s military conflicts, including more than 340 who gave their lives. While Sir John Monash is the best known, in Jewish Anzacs acclaimed writer and historian Mark Dapin reveals the personal, often extraordinary, stories of many other Jewish servicemen and women: from air aces to POWs, from nurses to generals, from generation to generation.

Weaving together official records and interviews, private letters, diaries and papers, Dapin explores the diverse lives of his subjects and reflects on their valour, patriotism, mateship, faith and sacrifice.

Mark Dapin is an acclaimed novelist and historian. His recent military history, The Nashos’ War: Australia’s national servicemen and Vietnam, won the People’s Choice Prize at the 2015 Nib Waverley Library Awards and was shortlisted for the 2016 NSW Premier’s Literary Award for non-fiction. His novel Spirit House, about Jewish prisoners of war on the Burma Railway, was shortlisted for the Age Book of the Year.


3 Responses to “A history of Jews in the military”
  1. Adrian Jackson says:

    7 digit Australian Army numbers, like Jeff Gould’s above, signify the owner was NS (a conscript during the Vietnam War).

    Australian Regular Army volunteer soldiers have 6 digit numbers, well least when I was in the ARA (1972-1995), but I dont think it has changed. The first number for NS and ARA signifies the state of enlistment. 3 means the soldier enlisted in Victoria, 2 NSW, 1 Qld and so on in the other states and territories.

    • Peter Allen says:

      (Apologies for a very much belated reply…)

      As the ‘creator’ and ‘producer/director’ of Jewish Anzacs by Mark Dapin, I can answer Jeffrey Gould’s query frankly:
      – As noted in my Preface (p.xv) and Appendix 2 (p.369) it was a conscious decision [of the CoAJP*] that we would seek to list in the Appendices:
      – all servicemen and women who served in the Boer War, WW1 and WW2;
      – all those who died on service from the Sudan to present day (i.e. Greg Sher KIA 2009 Afghanistan,
      – because those records, including establishment of provenance of Jewish religion, are reasonably readily available – whilst that latter information is not readily available for post-WW2 servicemen and women.
      – Notwithstanding, during preparation for the book (2012-2016), we tried to publicly seek contact with all Jewish Australian veterans, and
      – indeed, Mark made contact with numerous post-WW2 veterans and has included many of their stories in Jewish Anzacs.
      Thus, unfortunately neither your name (nor story) appear in Jewish Anzacs.
      Hopefully, as we approach the centenary of WW2 (2039-2045), there will be a second edition of the book that will include a list of post-WW2 Australian Jewish servicemen and women … you are welcome to help to assemble that in the meantime!

      Thank you for your service in the ADF and IDF.


      Peter M. Allen
      Previously National Coordinator
      * Centenary of Anzac Jewish Program (2012-2018)

  2. Jeffrey Gould says:

    I’ve had a look through the list of Aust. ex-servicemen in Dapin’s book and my name’s not in it???? RAEME 3104027. Why not? After RAEME in 1967 I was 10 years in the I.D.F.

Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

    Rules on posting comments