Biography of Mickey Marcus

Commentary by Dr. Gerhard Falk



David Daniel "Mickey" Marcus (1902 - 1948)


     In 1948, six hours before the “cease fire” between Israel and the terrorists took effect, Mickey Marcus, the first general of the Jewish nation since Judah Maccabee, was shot to death by an Israeli guard who mistook him for an Arab marauder.

     At the request of David ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, Marcus went to Israel in 1947 to become military advisor to the Israeli army. Therefore, when the terrorists attacked in 1948, Israel was ready to defend itself thanks to the planning achieved by Marcus, who called himself “Stone”. This was particularly important since the British occupiers of Israel furnished the terrorists with arms and supplies and even commanded their armies.  The same British occupiers prevented the Jews from importing any defensive arms in the hope of seeing another holocaust in Israel.

     Instead, the army of Israel, with few weapons and a few men, succeeded in defending their freedom and their lives against overwhelming odds. This was due to Marcus' planning. In view of the huge size of the attacking Egyptians, Marcus ordered “hit and run” tactics which kept the Egyptian army off balance in the Sinai.

     Then, when the Jewish part of Jerusalem was about to fall for lack of food and supplies, Marcus organized the building of a second road into Jerusalem, which succeeded in breaking the terrorists' siege. This meant that Israel survived the terrorists' attack. In gratitude, David ben Gurion named Marcus Lt. General, so that he became the first general of Israel in two thousand years.

     Marcus was able to undertake these feats because he was a West Point graduate and had seen considerable combat in World War II. He was also a lawyer, and in that capacity he worked as a federal attorney in New York City, where he also served as Commissioner of Corrections.

     In 1940, Marcus volunteered for service in the U.S. army. He was made commander of the Ranger squad after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Thereafter he parachuted into Normandy on D-day with the 101st airborne division. He consequently became part of the occupation government in Berlin. He then became chief of the war crimes commission which prosecuted the top Nazis in Nũrnberg, where he learned first hand the depth of European hatred of Jews. 

      In 1966, Kirk Douglas (Issur Danielovitch), a Jewish actor, portrayed Marcus in a movie called “Cast a Giant Shadow”. Senta Berger was the co-star. The movie is interesting but by no means a rival to Exodus. Nevertheless it is worth seeing the next time it plays on television.

Shalom u’vracha.

Dr. Gerhard Falk is the author of numerous publications, including The American Criminal Justice System (2010).

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