Tribute to Mordechai Gichon, FINS, Legion of Merit

Mordechai Gichon offers his thanks to
all who came to celebrate his life


On Thursday, 7 June 2012, the Israeli Society for Napoleonic Research and the Department of Archeology at Tel Aviv University held a symposium to honor near his 90th birthday one of the great scholars in Israel, Mordechai Gichon. Mordechai made a significant mark in both fields, as he has an outstanding archaeologist as well as Napoleonic scholar. He was a close friend to INS founder Ben Weider and is a close friend to INS President David Markham, who participated in the symposium. Well over 100 people attended, which was a wonderful outpouring of affection for a great man.

Following are remarks made by INS President Markham and Professor Gichon, as well as photographs of the event.

Standing room only




Remarks by INS President J. David Markham at the Israeli Society for Napoleonic Research tribute to Mordechai Gichon

Mordechai Gichon and INS President David Markham
before the program


I am pleased and honored to help pay tribute to my dear friend Mordechai.

So, Mordechai is turning 90? Well, that just proves that time flies when you’re having fun! And Mordechai has made life more fun for all of us who have been privileged to know him and call him friend.

His personality and ability to tell stories make him an irresistible force. Only his wife, Chava, has any change to reign him in, and she admits to only limited success! And let us applaud the ultimate woman behind the man! Here’s to Chava!

Mordechai had made very significant contributions to the field of Napoleonic history. He organized a major INS congress in Israel in 1999 and has been a major participant and leader of the large Israeli delegations to our other INS congresses. He has contributed articles to our academic journal and, of course, was the founder and president of the Israeli Society for Napoleonic Research!

Still, today’s symposium came at a bad time for me, so I had to ponder whether or not I could come.

Then one night, I had what seemed to be a religious experience. I heard this booming voice: David! You must come to Israel!

I wondered if this were the voice of Abraham, of Moses, of God? That last guess was close!

I listened and heard it again: David! You must come to Israel!

Then I recognized that deep, booming voice: it was Mordechai! Well, like so many of you, I was unable to resist Mordechai Gichon, so here I am!

I was going to talk on Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt and the Holy Land, but you know all about that—and Mordechai was there! So today, as this is the bicentennial of the campaign of 1812 in Russia, I will talk about what I see as Napoleon’s mistakes in that critical campaign.


Closing remarks made by Mordechai Gichon

Guest of Honor Mordechai Gichon

Welcome, David Markham and Edna Muller to this seminary. I see it as great honor and pleasure that you are honoring me by your participation.

Thanks also to Zvi Yeshurun, Moshe Fisher, Erez Levanon, Allon Klebanof and T.A.U. who initiated and launched this evening’s program in my honor. Thank you all for coming!

In 1997, I met David for the first time. He was sent by Ben Weider, president of the INS to organize the 1st. Int. Congress of Napoleonic Studies in July 1999, to celebrate Napoleon's campaign to Egypt and to the Holy Land.

My first impression was, this is a man after my heart, of much wisdom, of the capacity of quick decisions and of the ability to see to their execution.

A leader.

Theses impressions have proved their truth ever since.

Thank you for coming!

Peace upon both of you.

In 1945, while serving in the Jewish Brigade Group, I visited Ancona, the place where Napoleon opened the Ghetto's gates. He immediately found a common language with the local Jews as Italian was his mother's language. The Jews of Ancona participated in many of the public services and many enlisted to the French army.

Thinking that all Jews are like them, he invited them to receive Jerusalem from him during his future trip to the Holy Land. No one doubted then the ownership of the Jewish people of Jerusalem.

My friends, I cannot comment on all the praise that you have heaped upon me. I can only declare that I tried my best in answer to all challenges and to do what I thought to be my duty.

Thank you very much.


David Markham praises his friend Mordechai

Allon Klebanof outlines Mordechai’s
many accomplishments

Erez Levanon represents the Israeli Society
for Napoleonic Research

Prof. Gideon Biger welcomes participants


 David and Edna Markham, Allon Klebanof,
Mordechai Gichon, Erez and Tali Levanon

Chava Gichon, Tali Levanon and Edna Markham
await the opening of the symposium

Chava Gichon listens to the many
praises of her husband