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Concentration camp uniform jacket and pants worn by a Catholic Polish prisoner in several camps

Date 1942 September-1945 April  (use)
Accession Number 2006.404.1 a-b
Geography issue : Auschwitz (Concentration camp); Oswiecim (Poland)
use : Buchenwald (Concentration camp); Weimar (Thuringia, Germany)
use : Dora (concentration camp); Weimar (Thuringia, Germany)
Brief Narrative Striped jacket and pants worn by Mieczyslaw Lewicki during his imprisonment in Auschwitz-Birkenau, Buchenwald, and Dora-Nordhausen concentration camps from September 15, 1942-April 9, 1945. Nineteen year old Mieczyslaw, a Catholic, was arrested in Radom, Poland, on September 1, 1942, for taking food to Jews in the ghetto who worked at his family's shoe factory. He was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp where the uniform was issued and a mug shot taken. On August 15, 1944, he was transferred to Buchenwald in Germany. He was then sent to Dora-Nordhausen slave labor camp where he worked in a V-2 missiles factory. He was liberated by the US Army on April 9, 1945. He was transferred to Heilbrunn displaced person’s camp after the war where he met an American Red Cross nurse who eventually became his wife. They left Europe for New York in July 1947. Lewicki did not talk much about his experiences and kept the uniform in storage until September 25, 1993, when he brought it out, along with his mug shot from Auschwitz, to protest a neo-Nazi and White Pride march in his adopted hometown of Auburn, New York.
Provenance The uniform was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2006 by Jane Lewicki and Mitchell Lewicki, the children of Mitchell Lewicki.
Classification Clothing and Dress
Category Concentration camp uniforms
Object Type Concentration camp uniforms (ushmm)
Dimensions a : 27.750 x 20.000 in. (70.485 x 50.8 cm.)
b : 39.500 x 15.750 in. (100.33 x 40.005 cm.)
Materials a : cotton, wool, synthetic fiber, plastic
b : cotton, wool, linen, metal
Topical Term Concentration camp inmates--Poland--Biography.
Jewish refugees--Germany.
Slave labor--Germany--Biography.
World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, Polish.
World War, 1939-1945--Prisoners and prisons.
Conditions on Access No restrictions on access
Conditions on Use No restrictions on use
Contributor Subject : Mitchell Lewicki
Biography

Mieczyslaw (Mitchell) Lewicki was born on April 30, 1923, in Kielce, Poland, to Catholic parents. His father owned a shoe factory in Radom (Grojec). Mitchell worked for his father at the factory. Poland was occupied by Germany in September 1939. The Lewicki’s employed Jews at the factory, and they were permitted to keep them as employees even after the Germans forced all Jews to live in a ghetto. In return for their work, they were paid secretly in food, which Mieczyslaw delivered to the ghetto. On September 1, 1942, Mieczyslaw was stopped by two civilians on Malczewski Street on his way to the ghetto. They demanded to see what was in his briefcase; when they found food, they took Mieczyslaw to the police station. His father managed to bribe the German officials with 100,000 złoty, so that Mieczyslaw’s arrest record did not show that he was in contact with Jews, which would have meant the death penalty. Mieczyslaw was imprisoned at Radom, then with ninety-seven other prisoners, sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. He arrived on September 15, 1942, and was photographed and tattooed with the number 63692. He next was transferred to Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany on August 15, 1944, where he was given prisoner number 80163. Eventually, he was sent to Dora-Nordhausen slave labor camp, where he was forced to work on V-2 missiles. The camp was liberated by the United States Army on April 9, 1945. While recovering at the Heilbronn displaced persons camp, Mieczyslaw met a Red Cross nurse, Victoria Pelc, from New York. They married in Germany and moved to Auburn, New York, in July 1947. Mitchell and Victoria had two children. He did not talk much about his Holocaust experiences and kept the uniform in storage until September 25, 1993, when he brought it out, along with his mug shot from Auschwitz, to protest a neo-Nazi and White Pride march in his adopted hometown of Auburn. Mitchell passed away on June 4, 2006 in Auburn, aged 83.

Credit Line United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Jane Lewicki and Mitchell Lewicki
Record Type Object
Physical Description a. Blue and gray, vertically striped, cotton jacket with 5 plastic buttons. There is a pocket on the left breast and at each hip. The jacket has a collar, shoulder pads, long sleeves, and a satin-like cloth lining. A cloth coat hook is at the neck
b. Blue and gray, vertically striped, cotton trousers. The waistband has 4 belt loops lined with linen. There are seam pockets on each hip, lined with green cloth, and sewn shut. There is darting at the waist. The trouser fly has 4 metal buttons; 3 are hidden and 1 exposed. The crotch is reinforced on the outside. There is a lined, flap pocket with a button hole on the back right, sewn shut.
Link to Collection Mitchell Lewicki collection
2006.404
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  Record last modified: 2014-09-24 08:48:22
 
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