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|Allegiance|| Israel 1952–1953
|Service/branch|| Israeli Army
French Foreign Legion 1953–1958
|Unit|| Paratroopers Brigade
3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment
|Battles/wars||First Indochina War|
Eliahu Itzkovitz was a Romanian Jew who during the Second World War, while a prisoner in a concentration camp witnessed the murder of his family at the hands of a Romanian prison guard named Stănescu. Itzkovitz vowed to avenge his family's murder at the hands of his fellow Romanian, but was unable to find the murderer after the war. After the war he subsequently emigrated to Israel where he served in the Israeli Defense Forces until he learned that Stănescu had enlisted in the French Foreign Legion which led him to desert from the IDF and join the Foreign Legion. Itkowitz was able to track down and kill Stănescu in French Indochina. He was later court-martialed in Israel for desertion and sentenced to one year in prison.
Eliahu Itzkovitz was born to a Jewish family in Chişinău, Romania. During World War II, Eliahu and his family were interned in a concentration camp in Romania where Eliahu witnessed the murder of his parents and three brothers by a Romanian prison guard named Stănescu. Itzkovitz survived the concentration camps and was released by Soviet forces in 1944. In 1952, he was given permission by the Communist authorities in Romania to emigrate to Israel. In 1953 he was drafted into the Israeli Army where he served in the paratroopers. During this time he learned that Stănescu had managed to escape into the French zone of Germany and enlisted in the French Foreign Legion. This knowledge caused Itzkovitz to apply for a transfer to the Israeli Navy which was granted without much difficulty. He was soon after posted to a squadron of destroyers and corvettes based out of Haifa. When the ship he was serving on put to port in Genoa, Italy, Itzkovitz deserted and crossed the border to France where he enlisted in the Foreign Legion.
Service in the French Foreign Legion
Upon enlisting in France, he was shipped to Algeria where he underwent basic training. After completing basic training, he continued looking for Stănescu leading to his discovery that Stănescu was serving with the 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment in French Indochina. This led Itzkovitz to volunteer for duty with the 3rd REI and within three months of enlistment he was shipped off to Indochina where he was able to acquire a posting in the same battalion as Stănescu and within a short amount of time he was able to get a posting in Stănescu's unit. Stănescu had since enlisting risen to the rank of Corporal and was leading a squad of men. Itzkovitz took his time in looking for the proper moment for revenge against Stănescu. Itzkovitz confronted and killed Stănescu while on patrol along Route Coloniale 18 near Bắc Ninh. Itzkovitz, having murdered Stănescu, served out the remained of his enlistment until his discharge in 1958.
After completing his enlistment in the French Foreign Legion, he proceeded to the Israeli Embassy in Paris where he presented himself to the military attache to answer for his previous desertion. After verifying his claims, he voluntarily traveled back to Israel for trial. At his court-martial he was found guilty, but was sentenced to one year imprisonment in light of the unusual circumstances surrounding Itzkovitz's imprisonment.
- Mercer, Charles (1964). Legion of Strangers. Holt, Rinehart,and Winston of Canada, Ltd. pp. 283–286. ASIN B001JKOZEC.
- Szajkowski, Zosa (1975). Jews and the Foreign Legion. New York, New York: Ktav Publishing House. p. 23. ISBN 0-87068-270-9.
- Fall, Bernard (1994). Street Without Joy. Mechanicsburg,: Stackpole Books. pp. 286–290. ISBN 0-8117-1700-3.