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Metal box and engraved lid with initials made by an inmate to carry soap in a slave labor camp

Record Type:
approximately 1944 November  (creation)
Accession Number:
1997.102.2 a-b
creation : Gleiwitz I (Concentration camp); Gliwice (Poland)
Brief Narrative:
Metal box made by Sam Spiegel and used to carry soap in Gleiwitz slave labor camp, a subcamp of Auschwitz. It is engraved with entwined initials RG and SS, for Regina Gutman and Sam Spiegel, and a heart pierced by an arrow. Sam and Regina met in Pionki in German occupied Poland in 1941, where both were forced laborers in a munitions factory. In fall 1944, they were transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau where they were separated. Regina was transferred to Baumlitz, an underground munitions factory, then Elsnig. In April 1945, that camp was evacuated by train. The train was bombed by the Allies and Regina was wounded. She hid in barns until liberated in Poznan on April 20by the Soviets; she weighed eighty pounds. Sam had been sent to subcamp Gleiwitz and then on a death march to Blechhammer when he escaped in January 1945. After the area was liberated by the Soviets, he returned to Kozienice. Sam learned that Regina was in Radom and sent a horse and buggy for her. They left for Germany where they married in 1946 in the Föhrenwald displaced persons camp. Regina's uncle in the US sent them affidavits of support and they emigrated to America in November 1947.
The box was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1997 by Regina and Samuel Spiegel.
overall : 1.625 x 2.500 x 1.125 in. (4.128 x 6.35 x 2.858 cm.)
b. exterior to, engraved : RG SS [intertwined]
a : metal
b : metal
Conditions on Access:
No restrictions on access
Conditions on Use:
No restrictions on use
Subject : Regina Spiegel
Subject : Sam Spiegel
Artist : Sam Spiegel
Regina Gutman was born on May 12, 1926, in Radom, Poland. In September 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland. German forces occupied the town. Her father was forced to dig ditches. Jews had to wear armbands to identify them as outcasts. In April 1941, she and her family were forced into the ghetto. After one week, her father bribed a guard to get her out. Regina went by train to her married sister in Pionki. She worked in a munitions powder factory. Her sister and her baby were shot by the Germans. In early 1942 - September 1944, Regina loaded bricks and coal onto trains. Food was scarce and there was a typhus outbreak. She slept on straw in a barracks. In September 1944, she was transferred by train to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Half of the people crammed into the train died by arrival. Regina was tattooed # A 14641 and given striped clothing to wear. She was in Birkenau for six weeks. She then was transferred to a labor camp near the Polish border to work in a munitions powder factory for 6 weeks, then taken to Bergen-Belsen, and then to Elsnig - Bei -Torgau salve labor camp to a munitions factory. In April 1945, that camp was evacuated by a train which was bombed by American forces on April 20. Regina was wounded and hid in barns. She got a ride by horse and buggy to Poznan where she was liberated. She weighed eighty pounds.

The war ended in May 1945. In June, Regina left for Radom. She heard that Szmul Szpigel, whom she had met in the Pionki factory, had returned to Kozienice and she went there. The couple married and went to Prague and then Pilsner with help of the Joint Distribution Committee. In 1946, they moved to Foerhenwald displaced persons camp in the American zone in Germany. They then moved to Stuttgart. Regina had an uncle who was a tailor for J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI. He sent papers that made it possible fomr them to get a US visa. In November 1947, they sailed from Bremerhaven to America.
Sam Spiegel was born as Szmul Szpigel on August 23, 1922, in Kozienice, Poland, to Mojsze and Sara Szpigel. In September 1939, Poland was invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany. In 1941, Szmul and his family were ordered by the Germans to move to the ghetto in Kozienice. In September, a member of the Gestapo named Roeder took Szmul and nine other able-bodied young men to the Pionki labor camp where they worked in a munitions factory. While there, Szmul became friends with another laborer, Regina Gutman. In October 1944, Szmul was deported to Auschwitz concentration camp, then to the subcamp Gleiwitz slave labor camp. As Russian forces closed in, that camp was evacuated and the inmates were sent on a death march to Blechhammer from which he escaped on January 26, 1945. He hid in the forest for eight days until he was liberated by a detachment of the Soviet Red Army. He retuend to Kozeinice where he was found by Regina Gutman. The couple married and with the help of the Joint Distribution Committee traveled to the American zone in Germany. They lived in Föhrenwald displaced persons camp, then after several months, moved to Stuttgart. REgina had an uncle in the Us whonw a tailor for J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI. He sent them papers and they obtained a US visa. In November 1947, Sam and Regina sailed from Bremerhaven to the United States.
Credit Line:
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Regina and Samuel Spiegel
Funding Note:
The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
Physical Description:
a. Rectangular, metal box.
b. Rectangular metal lid engraved with the initials RG and SS with an arrow through a heart engraved in the center.
Record last modified: 2014-11-12 09:41:38