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Wooden plaque with the Hashomer Hatzair emblem given to a US soldier

Object | Accession Number: 1996.38.1

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    Wooden plaque with the Hashomer Hatzair emblem given to a US soldier

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    Brief Narrative
    Hand made wooden plaque given to Joe Friedman, a US Army officer and DP camp administrator, by an unknown DP camp resident in appreciation for Friedman's work in saving ca. 240 Jewish children at Kibbutz Nili, a DP camp located at the former Julius Streicher farm. It is carved with the Hashomer Hatzair logo, a wreath with a Star of David enclosing a fleur-de-lis. Hashomer Hatzair was a Zionist youth movement active in organizing unauthorized refugee travel across postwar Europe and illegal emigration to Palestine. Second Lt. Friedman deployed to Europe in 1944. He was attached to the Third Army and became a member of the 91st Evacuation Hospital. In early April 1945, Joe's company was the first to enter Ohrdruf concentration camp, the first camp discovered by US troops. Before the war ended on May 7, Joe volunteered for work in displaced persons camps, eventually becoming the head of Coburg DP camp. He was promoted to Captain and later sent to Ansbach where he was commissioned to oversee all DP camps and German repatriation in American-occupied Bavaria. Joe also worked with the Jewish underground, smuggling Eastern European Jews out of the Russian zone. In early 1946, Joe's activities with the underground were uncovered and he had to return to the US.
    received:  1946
    creation: Kibbutz Nili; Pleikersdorf (Germany)
    received: Kibbutz Nili; Pleikersdorf (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Joe Friedman
    Subject: Joe Friedman
    Joe Friedman (1920- ) was born in St. Joseph, MO. He joined the Army in 1942, was assigned to the Medical Administrative Corps, and landed at Le Havre in December 1944. His unit fought in the Battle of Bastogne and participated in the liberation Ohrdruf. After the German capitulation, Friedman volunteered to remain in Europe to work with displaced persons. He received training at Bamberg, spent two weeks at Wildflecken, and then was sent to Coburg where he witnessed the Soviet forced repatriation of eastern European displaced persons through Lichtenfels. He was then sent to Ansbach and put in charge of several DP camps and the exchange point at Hof. He worked discreetly with the Jewish underground to bring eastern European Jews into the American zone until he was caught and sent home. He worked first as a podiatrist before changing careers, becoming an actor, and adopting Joel Frederick as his stage name.

    Physical Details

    Decorative Arts
    Object Type
    Wood-carving (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Hand carved wooden plaque with an open topped wreath with a ribbon at the bottom, enclosing a Star of David with a fleur-de-lis in the center.
    overall: Height: 9.375 inches (23.813 cm) | Width: 5.625 inches (14.288 cm) | Depth: 1.140 inches (2.896 cm)
    overall : wood, graphite

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The plaque was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1996 by Joe Friedman.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-23 11:21:21
    This page:

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