John Monash

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World War I

General Sir John Monash GCMG, KCB, VD (27 June 1865 – 8 October 1931) was a civil engineer who became the Australian military commander in the First World War.


Early life

Monash was born in Dudley Street,[1] West Melbourne, Victoria, on 27 June 1865, the son of Louis Monash and his wife Bertha, née Manasse.[2] Both parents were of German Polish Jewish origin (the family name was originally spelt Monasch and pronounced with the emphasis on the 'ash' sound), living in Krotoschin in the Kingdom of Prussia, now Krotoszyn in the Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland.[citation needed] However, the family were German speakers, and some sources describe them as being of German origin.[3] From 1914 until his death Sir John Monash had no good reason to attract attention to his German background. The assumption that his parents were Polish seems to be based on the fact that they originated from a part of Silesia which has been part of Poland since the Second World War. In fact their original home was close to where the German general Erich Ludendorff was born. As might have been expected from a man brought up by cultivated German-Jewish parents who had arrived in Australia barely two years before John's birth, Monash spoke, read and wrote splendid German.[4]

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