Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Hunting knife with leather sheath used by Lithuanian labor camp inmate

Object | Accession Number: 1999.155.3 a-b

Survival knife with a leather sheath worn by Hirsch Birman, who called it a Boy Scout knife, following his escape from Kedhanen concentration/labor camp in July 1944. Hirsch and his father Abel lived in Kovno, (Kaunas) Lithuania, which was occupied by Germany on June 22, 1941. They fled, but were caught and brought back. On August 15, they were forced into a sealed ghetto. Hirsch was sent to Kedahnen concentration/labor camp in September, and Abel arrived in spring 1943. When the camp was being evacuated on July 9, 1944, due to approaching Soviet forces, they escaped through holes that Hirsch cut with pliers in the barbed wire fences. They hid in the forest until told by local farmers that it was safe to come out. They returned to Kovno but conditions were very bad and they decided to leave even though they had no permits. The war ended on May 7, 1945, and they arrived in Vienna, Austria, in September. From 1945-1948, Hirsch lived in displaced persons camps and worked for Bricha, a group that organized the illegal immigration of Jews to Palestine. He and Abel emigrated to the United States in 1952.

received:  approximately 1944 July 09
use: Kedahnen (Concentration camp); Kedainiai (Lithuania)
Tools and Equipment
Cutting tools
Object Type
Knives (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of George Birman
Record last modified: 2020-06-30 09:19:58
This page: