More than seven decades after his death in a military training accident, Israel’s first downed paratrooper was buried at Mount Herzl National Cemetery in Jerusalem on Thursday.
Private David Davidovic was born in 1927 in Czechoslovakia. During World War II, he and three of his six brothers survived the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.
After the war, he joined a Czech brigade that provided military training to Jewish youths before emigrating to Israel to fight in the War of Independence.
According to testimonies from the fallen combatant’s brothers in arms, Davidovic was killed leading an attacking force during an exercise simulating an attack on a sentry.
A Czech officer with whom the paratrooper was practicing shot him in the head. The officer claimed that he did not know his gun was loaded and as a result he was temporarily suspended and the exercise was canceled.
Davidovic was buried the day after the tragic incident at the Jewish cemetery in Prague at the age of 21. He is survived by two brothers and a sister who now reside in the United States.
The Israeli army recognized him as a downed IDF soldier in 2001 after locating documents bearing his name in IDF archives, although he never officially enlisted in the army. His name was also added to the Parachute Monument near Tel Nof Air Force base in central Israel.
Seventy-three years after his untimely death, a special Defense Ministry and an IDF delegation left for Prague on Wednesday to bring Davidovic’s remains and be buried in the Holy Land. Dozens of current and former paratroopers, along with other Israeli dignitaries, participated in the ceremony, after which they carried the fallen fighter’s coffin to a plane that would take them to Israel.
Deputy Defense Minister Alon Schuster called Davidovic a “role model for the endless handover of Jews around the world for the security of the State of Israel.”
Chief of the IDF Manpower Directorate, Major General. Yaniv Assor also praised Davidovic.
“Like Moses on the top of Mount Nebo, who failed to enter the Promised Land, so the soldier Martin Davidovic, may his memory be a blessing, failed to step on the land he dreamed of and for which he was willing to tread. sacrifice his life, “he said at the ceremony.
“Martin, your generation dreamed of the country and fought for its rebirth, we live in a generation for which the dream has come true. Today, the State of Israel and the Israel Defense Forces are meeting a moral debt with Martin and his family and may his burial in the Land of Israel give them some comfort. “