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Concentration camp inmate uniform jacket with number patch and red triangle

Object | Accession Number: 1997.122.1

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
Clothing and Dress
Object Type
Jackets (lcsh)
Prison uniforms.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
Record last modified: 2021-02-10 09:13:49
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