IDF's first fallen paratrooper to be brought to Israel for burial

The remains of Martin Davidovitch, a Holocaust survivor who is considered IDF's Paratrooper Brigade's first fallen soldier, will be brought to Israel on Sunday.

Prague has a rich Jewish history and inspiring Jewish presence (photo credit: ZORAN KOVAČEVIĆ)
Prague has a rich Jewish history and inspiring Jewish presence
(photo credit: ZORAN KOVAČEVIĆ)

Martin Davidovitch was a Czech Holocaust survivor who lost half of his family at the Auschwitz concentration camp, and is considered to be Israel's first fallen paratrooper. 

In 1948, not long after the first Israeli prime minister David Ben Gurion declared the Jewish state's independence, Davidovitch joined the Czech Brigade, an IDF-designated brigade created with the aim of training Czech Jews in combat ahead of their Aliyah to Israel.

Davidovitch died at the age of 21 during a parachuting exercise in Czechia, before making Aliyah. He is considered the Paratrooper Brigade's first fallen soldier.

73 years later, an IDF and Defense Ministry delegation is scheduled to fly to Prague on Sunday to bring his remains over to Israel for burial, according to Israeli media.

The delegation, who are reportedly unsure of what is left of Davidovitch's remains, will also include representatives from the Defense Ministry's Commemoration and Heritage division, IDF's Casualties Department and the army rabbinate.

A synagogue in Prague (credit: REUTERS/DAVID W CERNY)A synagogue in Prague (credit: REUTERS/DAVID W CERNY)

The Czech Brigade consisted of over 1,500 Jewish volunteers, with 40 of them, including Davidovitch, training as paratroopers. Its training was done in complete secrecy during the period of communist Czechoslovakia.

It operated through Stráž pod Ralskem, a military base established by the Nazi air force Luftwaffe's paratroopers' division which was used by Nazi Germany until their fall in 1945.