Jewish Heroism at Tobruk Reported; Zionist Flag Ordered Removed
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Jewish Heroism at Tobruk Reported; Zionist Flag Ordered Removed

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Tales of Jewish heroism in the battle of Tobruk on the Libyan front reached London today simultaneously with news of British discrimination in Palestine where civilian officials ordered the removal of the Zionist flag when Jewish units from the Libyan desert returned home for a temporary rest and hoisted the Jewish colors alongside the Union Jack with the approval of the military authorities.

The news from Tobruk reaching Zionist offices here today reveal the active part which thousands of Jewish soldiers are taking in the fierce battle there. They report that:

1. Leo Gutfreund, a Jewish refugee from the sunken S. S. Patria, was one of the first soldiers to be killed in the present attempt by the British forces to regain full control of the Tobruk section. Released only recently from the internment camp at Athlit, he joined the Czech Legion and was the first casualty of the Czech military unit. His brother, Ernst, is serving with the same legion.

2. Jewish truck drivers, captured by German tanks, succeeded in returning to the British lines after being constantly machine-gunned by the enemy. The drivers succeeded in escaping by putting on speed till they were out of sight of the German tanks. Then they jumped off, and leaving the engine of their trucks running, hid themselves in a ditch where they held out against the pursuing Germans until nightfall. In the darkness of the night they crawled out of the ditch and were able to reach the British lines.

3. During the months of the Tobruk siege Jewish stevedores from Tel Aviv organized in special units, handled the delivery of supplies to the besieged troops despite constant Nazi bombing from the air.

The part which Jewish volunteers in the desert army play in repairing captured, damaged Axis vehicles is also reported in the news from the Tobruk front. In recognition, one of the streets in Tobruk has been renamed “Dr. Theodore Herzl street,” while the remnants of the Italian Nazionale Cafe have been named “Zion Cafe.”

In spite of the acknowledged acts of Jewish bravery on the Libyan front, Zionist quarters here were informed that the Palestine administration issued an order forbidding any outward designation of the Jewish units as distinct from British, in addition to removing the Zionist flag, which the returning Jewish soldiers flew.

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