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Forced labor badge worn by a Roman Catholic Polish youth

Object | Accession Number: 2014.450.4

Forced labor badge worn by Wojciech Hermanowski, to identify him as a Polish forced laborer in Wriezen and Eberswalde, Germany, near Breslau, between August 1944 and May 1945. Wojciech was a Roman Catholic boy living with his parents, Jan and Stanislawa, and his older brother, Andrzej, in Warsaw, Poland, when the German army invaded on September 1, 1939. Wojciech was no longer allowed to go to school, so he began attending trade school and took general classes in secret. In February 1943, Andrzej was arrested as part of the underground resistance, and later transported to Auschwitz concentration camp. On August 1, 1944, the city’s underground resistance rose up against the German occupation forces. During the Warsaw Uprising, Wojciech and his parents were deported to a slave labor camp in Wriezen, Germany. Wojciech was then transferred to work at a dairy processing facility in nearby Eberswalde, and later reunited with his parents. From April 23 to May 3, 1945, they were sent on a forced march and then abandoned by the German guards. The family was found by Allied soldiers and were taken to a camp for displaced persons in Lübeck. They were reunited with Andrzej, who was severely ill from imprisonment in Auschwitz, Neungamme, Branschweig and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps. The entire family was transferred to Sweden for recuperation in July 1945, where Wojciech changed his name to Richard. Richard’s parents and brother decided to return to Poland early in 1947. Richard immigrated to the United States in 1954, settling in New York City.

Date
use:  1944 August-1945 May 03
Geography
issue: Germany.
Classification
Identifying Artifacts
Category
Badges
Genre/Form
Badges.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Wojciech Hermanowski
 
Record last modified: 2021-06-23 10:45:57
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn106728