Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Circular leather Star of David badge worn in the Kovno Ghetto

Object | Accession Number: 1995.89.1083

Insignia found in the Kovno ghetto by Ephraim Guttmann, an airport worker and burial society member. In June 1941, Germany invaded and occupied Lithuania and by August, they had forced the Jews in Kovno into a ghetto. In July 1944, as Soviet forces were approaching Kovno, the authorities deported the remaining Jews in the ghetto to Stutthof and Dachau concentration camps and then burned it down. Ephraim survived by hiding in the bunkers. When the Soviet Army liberated the city on August 1, 1944, he was the first to collect and gather items remaining in the ghetto, including drawings, armbands, and hundreds of paper ephemera items. The “A” in this insignia patch more than likely stands for ‘arbeitsamt’ or ‘labor office’. This insignia is typical of what was produced by the Kovno ghetto graphics office headed by designer Peter “Fritz” Gadiel. Since the Germans prohibited radios and newspapers, the alternative was posting announcements within the ghetto. Elchanan Elkes, the Ältestenrat Chairman, turned to Gadiel to establish the graphics office, the Paint and Sign Workshop. Initially, the workshop provided simple signs to communicate orders to the ghetto residents, but eventually employed more artists and workers to create a wide range of items including ghetto currency, work passes, insignia, armbands and documents.

use:  1941-1944
use: Kovno ghetto (historic); Kaunas (Lithuania)
Identifying Artifacts
Object Type
Insignia (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
Record last modified: 2021-02-10 08:56:22
This page: