Menu JTA Search

Jewish Brigade Stationed at Austrian Frontier; Anxious to Join in Occupation of Germany

At a point where the boundaries of Italy, Austria and Yugoslavia meet, the Jewish Brigade group, which fought its way up through Italy, is now assigned to duty at the edge of what was once Hitler’s Reich.

If the pledges made some time ago by the British are carried out, these men will eventually have a hand in the actual occupation of German territory. That day cannot come too soon for them. “We’re straining at the leash,” a Palestinian major remarked to a Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent at his command post, south of Parviso, near the Italo-Austrian frontier.

“Ever since we volunteered,” he continued, “we’ve been anticipating entering Germany with the victorious Allied armies. It will be an historic occasion. Though history has arrived we aren’t in Germany yet. But when we do get there, it will be a kind of symbolic justice that the world will applaud. For many of us it will also be a chance to return to our original homeland.”

Meanwhile, the Brigade is strung along the 100-mile road from Udine, Italy, to the Austrian frontier, helping with other Eighth Army units and the American Tenth to maintain a section of the supply route to the occupation forces in Austria. As you drive along you see them stringing telephone wires, rebuilding blown-up bridges, or filling in bomb craters in the roads. A sizeable group of German prisoners of war are working under their direction.

One Palestinian company has charge of a prisoner-of-war hospital at Tarvisio which houses 245 patients. Among these are tough Nazi paratroopers who were wounded by the Palestinian group at the time of the breakthrough across Senio early in April, In a chastened mood, they cause their Jewish captors and guards no trouble now.

Nor has there been any report of trouble from the Yugoslavs who have shared with the Palestinians in garrisoning such towns as Camporosso and Tarvisio in the disputed zone. Most of the Yugoslav soldiers have been withdrawn now and those who remain are friendly. Football matches are being regularly arranged between the Yugoslavs and the Palestinians, though the divisional team which was to have played the Jewish soldiers last week had to send in a substitute team as it was called away to play a command performance for Marshal Tito.

NEXT STORY