TIL of Eliahu Itzkovitz, a Romanian Jew who witnessed a guard kill his family in a concentration camp. After the war, he enlisted in the same battalion of the French Foreign Legion as the guard and murdered him while deployed in present-day Vietnam.



blatant_ban_evasion_ :
Oh I have one of the books Wikipedia uses as a source - Bernard Fall's "Street without Joy". The relevant section: > Eliahu had grown up in a small town in eastern Rumania when the country threw in its lot with the Nazis at the beginning of World War II. Soon, the Rumanian Conductorul (the “Leader”) Antonescu began to emulate all the tactics of the Nazis, his own version of the Brownshirts calling itself the “Iron Guard” and practicing mass murder on a large scale. In fact, according to the British writer Edward Crankshaw in his book Gestapo, they “offended the Germans on the spot by not troubling to bury their victims; and they offended the R.S.H.A.* by their failure to keep proper records and by their uncontrolled looting.” > The Itzkovitz family did not escape the collective fate of the Rumanian Jews. Eliahu and his parents and three brothers were sent to a concentration camp, no better and no worse than most Eastern European camps; one lived a few days to a few weeks and died from a wide variety of causes, mostly beating and shooting. Rumanian camps were not as well equipped as their German models, the “death factories” of Auschwitz and Treblinka with their sophisticated gas chambers. Again, according to Crankshaw, “the Rumanians showed a great aptitude for mass murder and conducted their own massacres in Odessa and elsewhere,” and the Itzkovitz family paid its price—within a short time, only Eliahu, the youngest boy, survived. > But he had seen his family die, and he had remembered who killed it. It had been one particular brute, not the coldly efficient SS-type but a Rumanian from a town not too far away from his own home town and who enjoyed his new job. And Eliahu swore that he would kill the man, if it took all his life to do it. More than anything else, it was probably that hatred which kept him alive; he was a skeleton but a living one when the Russians liberated him in 1944. Eliahu then began his patient search from town to town. Of course, Stanescu (or whatever name the brute had assumed in the meantime) had not returned to his home town for good reasons, but Eliahu found his son there and took his first revenge; he stabbed the son with a butcher knife and in 1947, a Rumanian People’s Court sentenced him to five years in a reformatory for juveniles. > Eliahu served his time but did not forget. His family’s murderer was still at large and he had sworn to kill him. In 1952, he was finally released and given permission by the Communist authorities to emigrate to Israel, where he was drafted into the Israeli army in 1953 and assigned to the paratroops. Training was rigorous in the sun-drenched barracks and stubby fields south of Rehovoth, and thoughts of revenge had become all but a dim memory. There was a new life to be lived here, among the people from all corners of the world who still streamed in and who, from Germans, Poles, Indians, Yemenites or Rumanians, became Israelis. To be sure, Eliahu still met some of his Rumanian friends and talk often rotated back to the “old country,” to the war and the horrors of the persecution. Camps and torturers were listed matter-of-factly, like particularly tough schools or demanding teachers, and Stanescu came up quite naturally. > “That s.o.b. made it. He got out in time before the Russians could get him,” said a recent arrival, “then he fled to West Germany and tried to register as a D.P. but they got wise to him and before we could report him, he was gone again.” > Eliahu’s heart beat had stopped for an instant, and when it resumed its normal rhythm, he had shaken off the torpor of peacetime army life. The hunt was on again. > “Do you know where Stanescu went then? Do you have any idea at all?” > “Well—somebody said that he had gone to Offenburg in the French Zone, where they recruit people for the French Foreign Legion, and that he enlisted for service in Indochina. The French are fighting there, you know.” > On the next day, Eliahu’s mind was made up. He reported to his commanding officer and applied for transfer to the Israeli Navy; he liked the sea, had learned something about it while in Rumania, which borders on the Black Sea, and would be happier aboard ship than as a paratrooper. A few days later, the request was granted and Eliahu was on his way to the small force of Israeli corvettes and destroyers based in Haifa. A few months later, the opportunity he had been waiting for came true; his ship was assigned to go to Italy to pick up equipment. > In Genoa, Seaman Itzkovitz applied for shore leave and simply walked off the ship; took a train to Bordighera and crossed over to Menton, France, without the slightest difficulty. Three days later, Eliahu had signed his enlistment papers in Marseilles and was en route to Sidi-bel-Abbès, Algeria, the headquarters and boot camp of the Foreign Legion, and again three months later, he was aboard the s/s Pasteur on his way to Indochina. > Once in the Foreign Legion, Stanescu’s trail was not too hard to pick up. While no unit was made up of any single nationality, each unit would have its little groups and informal clans according to language or nation of origin. It took patience, but early in 1954, he had located his quarry in the 3d Foreign Legion Infantry. The last step was the easiest; the Foreign Legion generally did not object if a man requested a transfer in order to be with his friends, and Eliahu’s request to be transferred to Stanescu’s battalion came through in a perfectly routine fashion. When Eliahu saw Stanescu again after ten years, he felt no particular wave of hatred, as he had somehow expected. After having spent ten years imagining the moment of meeting the killer of his family eye to eye, the materialization of that moment could only be an anticlimax. Stanescu had barely changed; he had perhaps thinned down a bit in the Legion; as for Eliahu, he had been a frightened boy of thirteen and was now a strapping young man, bronzed from his two years of training with the Israeli paratroopers, the Navy and the French Foreign Legion. > There was nothing left to do for Eliahu but to arrange a suitable occasion for the “execution;” for in his eyes the murder of Stanescu would be an execution. Stanescu (his name was, of course, no longer that) had become a corporal, and led his squad competently. The new arrival also turned out to be a competent soldier, a bit taciturn perhaps, but good. In fact, he was perhaps better trained than the run of the mill that came out of “Bel-Abbès” these days. He was a good man to have along on a patrol. > And it was on a patrol that Stanescu met his fate, in one of the last desperate battles along Road 18, between Bac-Ninh and Seven Pagodas. He and Eliahu had gone on a reconnaissance into the bushes on the side of the road, when the Viet-Minh opened fire from one hundred yards away. Both men slumped down into the mud. There was no cause for fear: the rest of the squad was close by on the road and would cover their retreat. Eliahu was a few paces to the side and behind Stanescu. > “Stanescu!” he called out. > Stanescu turned around and stared at Eliahu, and Eliahu continued in Rumanian: > “You are Stanescu, aren’t you?” > The man, the chest of his uniform black from the mud in which he had been lying, looked at Eliahu more in surprise than in fear. For all he knew, Eliahu might have been a friend of his son, a kid from the neighborhood back home in Chisinau. > “Yes, but . . .” > “Stanescu,” said Eliahu in a perfectly even voice, ‘I’m one of the Jews from Chisinau,” and emptied the clip of his MAT-49 tommy gun into the man’s chest. He dragged the body back to the road: a Legionnaire never left a comrade behind. > “Tough luck,” said one of the men of the platoon sympathetically. “He was a Rumanian just like you, wasn’t he?” > “Yes,” said Eliahu, “just like me.”
> After completing his enlistment in the French Foreign Legion, he proceeded to the Israeli Embassy in Paris where he presented himself to the military attaché to answer for his previous desertion.[1][3] After verifying his claims, he voluntarily travelled back to Israel for trial.[1][3] 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.[1][3] From the article for those interested
Douglas0327 :
>After returning to Romania, Itzkovitz began to search for Stănescu to exact revenge. He failed to find Stănescu but found his son and stabbed him with a butcher knife. In 1947, a Romanian court sentenced him to five years in a juvenile reformatory Yikes!
Damn…was just about say how he got justice. But that sounds more like full on revenge.
MrCandid :
Dude played the long game.

ShalmaneserIII :
From what I've read, the post-WWII Foreign Legion did like their sauerkraut and sausage.
Natural move for Axis war criminals. New identity, fresh start. Also provided the French with scapegoats for war crimes against colonial subjects. "Must have been those damned Nazis/Blackshirts/Arrow Cross/Iron Guard/Ustaze bad apples."
Prize-Brilliant-9283 :
Fuck Liam Neeson in Taken— This man needs his own revenge saga
Seriously... >After returning to Romania, Itzkovitz began to search for Stănescu to exact revenge. He failed to find Stănescu but found his son and stabbed him with a butcher knife.
Elad-Volpert :
"My name is Eliahu Itzkovitz. You killed my father, prepare to die"
I'm actually more picturing the scene from x men first class "I don't have a name. It was stolen from me, by tailors, and pig farmers"
Psartryn :
Make a goal, divide it into smaller steps, avenge the family.
Oddly motivational
ty_kanye_vcool :
I’m wondering how common this is. How many former POWs have gone back to the country they fought the war in, looked up their old camp commander, and murdered him? It’s got to have happened at least a few times.

ClownfishSoup :
He deserted the IDF, joined the Legion, murdered the guy then was court martialed in Israel and sentenced to one year. I can see the court martial now; "Your honor, I'm sorry that I deserted and kill this guard. Since he murdered my entire family for being Jewish, I felt the need to avenge them" "Israel looks down on desertion and murder. Your murder of this Jew hating concentration camp guard is \*cough\* terrible. One year".
He was court martialed for desertion. Not murder. He told them about the murder.
artgriego :
>Itkowitz was able to track down and kill Stănescu in French Indochina. He was prepared to scour the earth for that motherfucker... hidin' in a bowl of rice, ready to pop a cap in his ass!

OK_Soda :
This reminds me of [the Mariner's Revenge Song](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UH7dU66u4g) by The Decemberists. It's basically about a guy whose mother was driven to destitution by a deadbeat who, many years later, has become the captain of a whaling ship. So the guy joins a pirate crew and tracks the whaling ship down just in time for both ships to be attacked by a giant whale and the two men get swallowed whole and this revenge-crazed lunatic starts singing his song as he prepares to murder the guy in the darkness of the whale's belly.
we are two soldiers our legion's sole survivors in this foxhole in bac ninh.
jcd1974 :
How much of this is true? The only source appears to have been a friend who wrote a book about it.
One of the sources in Hebrew Wikipedia is a 1959 news article about his trial, where he told his story.
9smokit3diddle :
It’s sad that many of the small countries the nazis took over were perfectly happy to do the dirty work for them against their own jewish population.

YoRav :
After he couldn’t find the guy he found his son and stabbed him…
I'm not going to defend the act itself but I think a lot of people are missing the fact that the kid was 11-13 when he did that. I also imagine that he was absolutely fucked by the concentration camp (mentally/emotionally) since it was still fresh. People make it sound like an adult did that in proper mental standing and thus is a monster, and that just doesn't appear to be the case.
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