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Concentration camp inmate uniform jacket with number patch and red triangle

Object | Accession Number: 1997.122.1

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    Concentration camp inmate uniform jacket with number patch and red triangle


    Brief Narrative
    Blue and gray striped uniform jacket with a prisoner number and red triangle of the type worn by concentration camp prisoners during the Holocaust. By 1937, blue and gray prisoner uniforms had become standard issue in the Nazi concentration camp system. Generally, new prisoners were separated into two groups: men, and then women and children. The prisoners then had their hair shorn, were deloused and issued a uniform. Some prisoners received old uniforms worn by previously killed inmates. Men received a cap, pants, and a jacket, while women received a dress or skirt with a jacket and kerchief for their head. Prisoners received an identification number, which was often paired with a color coded triangular badge: yellow for Jews, red for political prisoners, green for criminals, black for asocials or Gypsies, pink for homosexuals, and purple for Jehovah’s Witnesses. These were worn on the left side of the chest or on the left sleeve, and occasionally on the right side of the pants. Most uniforms were made in workshops of some of the larger camps such as Dachau, Sachsenhausen, and Ravensbrück. The uniforms were made in different sizes, but were not assigned according to size, so many were altered to improve fit. Newly issued uniforms were often shortened or lengthened at the hems or widened with inserts. As prisoners’ physical condition deteriorated in the camps, they moved buttons or took in seams to compensate for malnourishment. Some uniforms, especially those of higher ranking prisoners such as Kapos, had pockets. Others had pockets secretly sewn into them, which allowed them to hide extra rations or useful items. After the war, many badges were removed from uniforms. Abandoned uniforms were often crudely patched and repaired with fragments from other uniforms.
    1937-1945 May
    creation: Europe
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection

    Physical Details

    Clothing and Dress
    Object Type
    Jackets (lcsh)
    Prison uniforms.
    Physical Description
    Blue and gray, vertically striped, hip-length, long-sleeved, mediumweight, plain weave cloth jacket. The blue stripes are printed on both sides of the gray cloth, and the seams are machine stitched with gray thread. The thick, reinforced collar has pointed ends with rounded tips and is fastened with a black metal hook and eye closure. The front placket has five circular, thick, black plastic buttons stitched to the right side with off-white thread. There are five corresponding, finished, horizontal buttonholes along the left side. A rectangular, discolored white cloth patch is hand sewn to the left breast. Stenciled in black ink on the left side of the patch is a six-digit prisoner number. The ink has run on the cloth, creating a black, hazy area around the numbers. To the right is an inverted red triangle with a wax-like coating on the surface, sewn on with black thread. There are three slash pockets on the jacket: a small one above the patch, and one on each hip. The edges of the pockets are lined with blue cloth. On the interior of the jacket, a gray cloth hanging loop is sewn to the collar, and there are bound seams at the armholes. On the right hip, there are two small holes in the cloth.
    overall: Height: 23.000 inches (58.42 cm) | Width: 15.375 inches (39.053 cm)
    overall : cotton, thread, plastic, metal, ink
    front, left breast, on patch, stenciled, black ink : 31639

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The jacket was acquired by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1997.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:23:31
    This page:

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