|Leon Maurice Amzel|
The son of Yacov (Jacques) and Lina, Leon Maurice Amzel was born in Nancy, France, on 20th November 1929. He completed high school, and grew up in a non-Jewish environment, with hardly any Jewish content, but the war and the Nazi occupation made him aware of his Jewish roots, and even more so when his parents were deported to a concentration camp.
His brother, who had preceded him in emigrating to Eretz Israel, was already a soldier in the IDF. He wrote to Leon about the struggle for independence and the dangers of the Arab invasion which affected him deeply. Leon followed in his brother’s footsteps; he was mobilized in Paris, participated in military training at an immigrant camp and arrived in Israel on an Italian ship during the first truce, 11th June to 9th July 1948.
The war was hard and cruel, and many fell without witnessing the final victory. His brother said that as a member of the Etzioni Brigade Leon was immediately sent to a front position, without even seeing anything of the country. The little he did see made him proud of what his brother had done.
Leon Maurice Amzel fell at Beit Jala in southern Jerusalem on 20th October 1948, while serving as the machine gunner of his section. He led his men to an enemy position, opened fire, and was mortally hit by the enemy in his forehead.
He was buried at Sheikh Badar “A,” and on 30th August 1950 he was re-interred at the Mount Herzl military cemetery.