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Concentration camp inmate uniform pants

Object | Accession Number: 1997.122.2

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    Concentration camp inmate uniform pants


    Brief Narrative
    Blue and gray striped uniform pants 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.
    creation:  1937-1945 May
    creation: Europe
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
    interior waistband, stamped, blue ink : 84
    back, metal buckle, embossed : PRIMA

    Physical Details

    Clothing and Dress
    Object Type
    Pants (lcsh)
    Prison uniforms.
    Physical Description
    Blue and gray, vertically striped, mediumweight, straight-leg, plain weave cloth pants. The blue stripes are printed on both sides of the gray cloth, and the seams are machine stitched with gray thread. Centered on the front of the waistband, above a hidden fly, is a large, circular, silver-colored metal button with a corresponding buttonhole. Below, the fly consists of three smaller, metal buttons and corresponding buttonholes inside a hidden placket. At each hip is an in-seam cloth pocket with finished edges. The crotch is gusseted with the same material as the rest of the pants. The bottom of each pant leg has been hemmed, and then horizontally lined with a thin strip of the same material, hand-stitched with black thread. The waist has five, evenly spaced belt loops, and a tan-colored facing inside the waistband. The back of the waistband has been widened with a triangular insert, and reinforced with horizontally striped cloth, all hand-stitched with black thread. The seat has two horizontal straps to adjust the waist width. Attached to the end of the right strap is a rectangular buckle with two thin metal prongs on a center bar, which extends to the far end to grip the left strap as it passes through the buckle. There are small wear holes near the inside seam of the legs.
    overall: Height: 28.000 inches (71.12 cm) | Width: 17.500 inches (44.45 cm)
    overall : cotton, wool, metal, synthetic fiber, thread, ink

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The pants were 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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