Australia’s oldest Jewish soldier and one of the country’s most decorated military men has died.
Paul Cullen, who died Sept. 19 at the age of 99, was only the second Jew in Australian history to achieve the rank of major-general, following in the footsteps of Sir John Monash, arguably Australia’s greatest military commander.
Cullen fought in Palestine in 1940, and played a pivotal part in the defeat of the Japanese on the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea, which saved Australia from potential invasion.
He was also the founding president of Austcare, an international humanitarian movement, and a former president of JewishCare, the community’s major welfare organization.
His life story was the subject of a book, “Citizen and Soldier: The life and times of Major General Paul Cullen,” published in Australia in 2005.
In 1988 he was awarded Australia’s highest honor – the Companion of the Order of Australia – for his service to the community. In 1965 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.