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Concentration camp uniform jacket with a red triangle patch worn by a Polish Jewish inmate

Record Type:
Object
Date:
approximately 1944 August-approximately 1945 April  (use)
Accession Number:
1994.55.2
Geography:
issue : Flossenburg (Concentration camp); Flossenburg (Germany)
use : Altenhammer (Concentration camp); Altenhammer (Germany)
Brief Narrative:
Striped concentration camp uniform jacket worn by Edmund Graf while imprisoned at Flossenburg and Altenhammer concentration camps from August 4, 1944 to April 23, 1945. The white cloth patch with his prisoner number P 14811, and an inverted, red triangle, identifying him as a political prisoner were given to him by a friend who worked in the camp’s tailor shop. Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. In 1940, Edmund fled to Soviet occupied Lwow, but returned home after German invaded in June 1941. In December, he was sent to Pustkow slave labor camp. He was then transported to Mielec and Wieliczka slave labor camps and Flossenburg and Altenhammer concentration camps, where he worked in airplane factories. On April 23, 1945 Edmund was liberated from Altenhammer by the US Army. Later, Edmund learned that his brother went to Palestine illegally in 1946 or 1947. The rest of Edmund’s family perished.
Provenance:
The concentration camp uniform jacket was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1994 by Edmund Graf.
Classification:
Clothing and Dress
Object Type:
Jackets (lcsh)
Dimensions:
overall : 26.875 x 17.375 in. (68.263 x 44.133 cm.)
Inscription:
front, left chest, patch, stenciled, black paint : P 14811
interior collar, hanging loop, handwritten, black ink : WK
Materials:
overall : wool, cloth, plastic, metal, thread, paint, ink
Conditions on Access:
No restrictions on access
Conditions on Use:
No restrictions on use
Contributor:
Subject: Edmund Graf
Biography:
Edmund Graf was born on August 12, 1919, in Lwow, Poland, (Lviv, Ukraine), to a Jewish couple. Edmund’s brother was born in 1914. In 1921, Edmund’s father was killed by Ukrainians. Not long after, Edmund’s mother took him and his brother to live with her parents in Dabrowa, Poland. As an adult, Edmund worked as an electrician.
In September 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland. Germany occupied regions west of the Bug River, the Soviet Union occupied those to the east. In October, Edmund was selected for forced labor and transported Dabrowa Tarnowska. In 1940, Edmund fled to Soviet occupied Lwow, where life was not as restricted for Jews. In June 1941, Germany occupied Lwow. Edmund began working for a company that produced mechanical equipment. One of the company’s German administrators learned that Edmund had the same surname as he did and threatened to kill Edmund. Edmund went back to Dabrowa. In December 1941, Edmund was taken to Pustkow labor camp, where he was a slave laborer alongside Soviet prisoners of war. In May 1942, he was sent to Mielec, a subcamp of Krakau-Plaszow slave labor camp, where he was a mechanic at the Ernst Heinkel Airplane factory. In January 1944, Krakau-Plaszow became a concentration camp with several official subcamps. On July 22, as the Soviet Army advanced on the region, Edmund was transported to Wieliczka, a subcamp of Krakau-Plaszow. Airplane production had been moved to the old, underground salt mine near this camp. Several days later, Edmund was deported to Flossenburg concentration camp in Germany. He was issued prisoner number 14811 and a striped camp uniform. Edmund was assigned to the stitch detachment, as slave labor for the factories that built Messerschmitt 109, 110, and 111 fighter jets. The detachment was housed at Flossenburg, but marched to nearby Altenhammer subcamp each day to work at the airplane factories. On April 8, 1945, Edmund was transferred to onsite barracks at Altenhammer. On April 23, he was liberated by US soldiers. Many civilians brought the former prisoners food, including potatoes, which kept Edmund alive.
On May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered. Edmund made his way to Auerbach and then settled in Hamburg. He contacted an uncle in Argentina, who was able to write to people in Dabrowa. All of Edmund’s relatives, except his brother, had been killed during the Holocaust. His brother had fought in a Polish division in the British Army during the war. In 1946 or 1947, he sailed to Palestine illegally aboard the ship Samaria and fought for Israeli Independence. In August 1950, Edmund boarded USNS General W.H. Haan and went to the United States. Edmund married a fellow Holocaust survivor, Malvina Kleinberger. Malvina was born on December 19, 1922, in Krakow, Poland, to Jacob and Leontyna Geiger Kleinberger. She had 7 siblings: Balbina, Sabina, Maria, Henryk, Szymon, Helena, and a sister who died pre-war. In September 1939, Malvina fled to Soviet occupied Lvov, but later returned to Krakow ghetto. In January 1943, she was interned at Krakau-Plaszow slave labor camp, and then at Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, and Burgau concentration camps. In April 1945, Malvina was marched from Burgau, a Dachau subcamp, to Allach, where she was liberated by US soldiers. In December 1947, Malvina and her surviving siblings, Balbina Sabina, Maria, and Henryk, went to the US. Edmund and Malvina settled in Brooklyn and had three daughters. Malvina, 84, died on November 26, 2007. Edmund, 93, died on August 18, 2012.
Credit Line:
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Edmund Graf
Funding Note:
The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
Physical Description:
Blue and gray, vertically striped, hip length coarse heavyweight cloth jacket with long sleeves and a pointed, double layer collar with zig-zag reinforcement stitching and a black painted hook and eye closure. The front opening has plackets on both sides with 5 black plastic buttons on the right and 5 finished buttonholes on the left. On each side, near the waist is a patch pocket with a strip of blue cloth on the interior, creating faux piping across the top edge. On the interior neck band is a brown cloth hanging loop. The armhole seams have gray cloth binding and the plackets are lined with gray and blue striped cloth. The hems and seams are machine finished. Both sides have an added seam on the side where they may have been altered. Handstitched to the left breast is a rectangular, white cloth prisoner patch with a black painted uppercase P over a faded, inverted red triangle, with 14811 stenciled in black beside it.
 
Record last modified: 2016-11-10 14:03:53
This page: http://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn25709