Death in service with the Jewish Brigade of the British Army #unitedkingdom

Peter Lobbenberg

I am involved with other posters in researching the all-too-short life of Rolf Rudi Grab, born Breslau (Wroclaw) 1919, a religious Jew.  He moved first with his family to Hannover, then in 1939 to England where he was involved with Bachad (Brit Chalutzim Dati'im, the Alliance of Religious Pioneers) and for a period was interned on the Isle of Man.  Later he joined the British Army (Royal Army Ordnance Corps / RAOC), and then the Jewish Brigade, with whom he was stationed in Italy.  The rest of his immediate family all perished.

In late 1945 or early 1946, he was severely injured in a motor accident in or near Naples.  He requested to be moved to Palestine, and that request was granted: he died in a hospital there in April 1946, and was buried with full British military honours in Ramleh/Ramla War Cemetery.

Now here's the thing.  Neither his headstone (which is on, nor the British Commonwealth Graves Commission website, make any mention of his being in the Jewish Brigade: both state merely that he was a private in the RAOC.

A Google search as follows - "jewish brigade"  - suggests that he was not alone: the only hits appear to be for minutes of committee meetings and the like.  So far as I can see there is no CWGC grave, be it in Israel or anywhere else, on which the deceased's membership of the Jewish Brigade is acknowledged.  And yet there must surely be a number of others who died while serving with the JB.

Is this delicate political territory for some reason?  Can anyone suggest any other explanation?

Peter Lobbenberg, London

Saul Issroff

Martin Sugarman, of AJEX gave me permission to forward his response:
On Tue, 22 Nov 2022 at 09:52, Martin Sugarman <martin.sugarman@...> wrote:
Rudi must have returned to RAOC after the JB and died in that Corps - hence the grave has the RAOC badge OR he served with JB but remained officlally in the RAOC - many men said they were in the Brigade but NOT enlisted as such like Jews from Israel who OFFICIALLY joined the Brigade ONLY . Rudi may have worn the cloth badges but kept his RAOC cap badge - very complex stuff 
On Tuesday, 22 November 2022 at 09:45:28 GMT, Martin Sugarman <martin.sugarman@...> wrote:
It is simple. 
1. 1941-2 The Palestine Reg formed in Israel with a circular badge and olive branch in centre and edge saying Falastin in Arabic, Palestine in English and yud /aleph (Eretz Israel) in Hebrew - but British and Arabs did not join up as they detested having the other languages on the badge !!! Jews did join from other units such as RAOC, Port Companies, Water Companies etc - which units they were in at the time if they enlisted in Israel
2. From the Pal Reg, Jews went into the JB in 1944 N Africa, who were granted cloth  shoulder title (Jewish Brigade Infantry Group in Henrew and English) and blue and white Israel emblem with YELLOW star and epaulette badge PR. BUT Officers who were Jews from other regiments who transferred as volunteers and Zionists, tended to wear a cap badge of their own Regiment and cloth titles of the JB - ie mixed. JB also wore a blue and white shoulder title "Palestine' and there were special metal badges for the attached gun batteries eg Palestine RA worn on shoulder aswell.
In Israel vets wore special Israel flag badges which denoted service in British run JB
3. The JB caualties are mostly buried at Ravenna (Piangipane) CWGC cemetery with old Pal Reg cap badge emblem but others are elsewhere where they died eg Israel, N Africa, Italy , Holland, Belgium etc and are all labelled with the badge of the Palestine Regiment. No UK war casualties were buried as a Brigade membership, only a Regiment or Corps eg RAMC. If you were in the RAOC you were attached to a Regiment and you would have the badge of that Regiment on your grave., depending on what your official posting had been 
4. Was it political? Yes of course eg the Brigade flag mutiny in N Africa 1943 when they said the Israel flag must fly with UK Flag in base camps - and it was granted. Also on parades . The JB never had a proper Jewish cap badge like the kadimah badge of the Jewish Legion in WW1
5. Read M. Beckman's "Jewish Brigade' and Rabinowitz 'Soldiers from Judea' - photos of the badges are on the web - google Jewsh Brigade etc

Saul Issroff
London UK

E Feinstein

About the British War Cemetery in Ramle
The JOWBR of JewishGen has 37 burials indexed.
These include one French Jew born in Beyrouth from WWI (from the French Army), British soldiers from WWI and WWII, Jewish soldiers from the Czech Army in Exile, Jewish soldiers from the Polish Army in Exile, the German Jew Rudolf GRAB that was spoken about, a Jew from India who served in the British Army and one Jew from the Greek Army.  Both Magen David and Greek on his tombstone!.  This is a real Kibbutz Galyot (in gathering of the Exiles!)
All the best
Clifton New Jersey