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A Glimpse Into the Ben-Gurion Archives

A Glimpse Into the Ben-Gurion Archives

August 31, 2017

Social Sciences & Humanities

Located on BGU’s Sde Boker campus, the Ben-Gurion Archives house David Ben-Gurion’s extensive collection of personal papers, diaries and letters. Over the years other important collections have been added, providing scholars with a unique window into Israel’s past and the early days of the State.

The Archives provide valuable insight into the leadership of Israel’s first prime minister and are also used as an important research tool for graduate and doctoral students from around the world who participate in BGU’s Woodman-Scheller Israel Studies International Program.

Mickey Marcus

The poignant letter below is but one example of the 5 million items held in the Archives. It was written by David Ben-Gurion to the widow of David Daniel “Mickey” Marcus (February 22, 1901 to June 10, 1948) – a retired U.S. Army colonel who left practicing law in New York City to assist Ben-Gurion during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, becoming Israel’s first modern general (Hebrew: aluf).

After many military successes and creating what would become the basis of the modern Israel Defense Forces, he lost his life to friendly fire when he was mistaken for an enemy infiltrator while returning to an Israeli position late at night.

As one of the well-known Israeli Machal soldiers (who came from 56 different countries to fight for the nascent State of Israel), he was portrayed in the 1966 Hollywood movie Cast a Giant Shadow, which starred Kirk Douglas as Marcus.