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First Name: David

Last Name: Marcus

Birthplace: Manhattan, NY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Daniel

Date of Birth: 22 February 1901

Date of Death: 10 June 1948

Rank: Colonel

Years Served:
David Daniel Marcus

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


David Daniel "Mickey" Marcus
Colonel, U.S. Army

David Daniel Marcus was born on 22 February 1901. Born to immigrant Jewish parents, young David was nicknamed "Mickey." He grew up in a tough neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY, where he learned to fight for what he believed in.

In 1920, he gained admittance to the U.S. Military Academy and graduated in 1924, becoming the 7,368th graduate of the Academy. Initially commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry, he completed his mandatory service and resigned his commission in 1926 to attend law school.

During the 1930s, he served as a U.S. Attorney in New York City. After bringing gangster Lucky Luciano to justice, he was named Commissioner of Corrections for New York City. When war became obvious, he rejoined the Army in 1940, where he served as the Judge Advocate to the Military Governor of Hawaii.

Sent to England, he voluntarily parachuted into Normandy with the 101st Airborne Division on the eve of D-Day, and later helped draw up the surrender documents for Germany. After the war, he became part of the Occupation Allied Military Government for Germany, and was considered one of the best, smartest, and most talented of the military's top soldiers. However, in late 1944, he was placed in charge of planning how to take care of the millions of starving and displaced persons in Europe, and with closing the Nazi Concentration Camps. In early 1945, he was named Chief of the War Crimes Division, planning the legal procedures for the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials.

Though never previously a Zionist, his experiences convinced him that the only hope for the European Jewry lay with a Jewish homeland in Palestine. In 1947, he resigned his Army commission again, and volunteered his services to David Ben-Gurion, to serve as military advisor to the fledgling Israeli government. Marcus arrived in Tel Aviv in January 1948, where the Israeli military faced imminent attack by the Arab League Nations. Marcus designed a command structure for Israel's new army, and wrote manuals to train it. In May 1948, with the declaration of independence, the Arab armies attacked the new nation, and Marcus broke the siege of Jerusalem just before the United Nations negotiated cease fire. His efforts had helped Israel survive with its borders nearly intact. In gratitude, Ben-Gurion named him Lieutenant General, the first General in the Israeli Army in nearly two thousand years.

Six hours before the cease fire began, Marcus went for an early morning walk, and an Israeli sentry challenged him. Not understanding his reply, the sentry then shot him, and Marcus was instantly killed. His body was returned to West Point, where his tombstone identifies him as "A Soldier for all Humanity."

Actor Kirk Douglas later portrayed him in the movie, "Cast a Giant Shadow" (1966), which eulogized his life.

During World War II, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the Bronze Star Medal and the Army Commendation Medal.

Death and Burial

Colonel David Daniel Marcus was killed in Israel on 10 June 1948. He is buried at the U.S. Military Academy Post Cemetery in West Point, NY.

Honoree ID: 2800   Created by: MHOH




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