Marcus, David Daniel

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MARCUS, DAVID DANIEL (1902–1948), U.S. soldier, commander of the Jerusalem front in the Israel *War of Independence. Marcus was born on New York City's Lower East Side. In 1920 he entered the West Point Military Academy, graduating in 1924. He also studied law, and, when he left the army in 1927, was employed in the U.S. Attorney General's Office. In 1934 Mayor Fiorello La Guardia invited him to join the New York City Department of Correction, and in 1940 he was sworn in as a commissioner of correction. After the outbreak of World War ii in Europe he rejoined the army with the rank of lieutenant colonel as divisional judge advocate and divisional headquarters' commander. In 1943 he was called to the Civil Affairs Division of the War Department and attended the meetings of the "Big Five." On D-Day he volunteered to participate in the airborne assault, parachuting into Normandy despite his lack of previous training. In 1945 he was on the staff of General Lucius D. Clay's military government in Germany. Recalled to Washington, he was appointed head of the War Crimes Branch. In 1947 he retired from the army with the rank of colonel and returned to legal practice, after being awarded a number of major U.S. and British decorations.

At the request of the *Jewish Agency and the *Haganah, he went to Palestine at the end of January 1948, serving as David *Ben-Gurion's military adviser under the nom de guerre of Mickey Stone. He immediately perceived the special spirit and conditions of the new Israel army which was emerging from the underground. After a brief visit to the United States, he returned to Israel in May 1948 and on May 28, 1948, was appointed commander of the Jerusalem front. Marcus was the first officer to receive the new rank of alluf (Major General). Before dawn on June 11, he went outside the perimeter fence of his headquarters in Abu Ghosh and was accidentally killed by a sentry. His body was transferred with military honors to the United States and buried at West Point. A village in Judea, Mishmar David, is named after him.


N. Lorch, The Edge of the Sword (1961), index; I. Berkman, Cast a Giant Shadow (1962; movie, 1965).

[Jehuda Wallach]