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Wooden rack wagon, yolk, and pole typical of those used in prewar Poland

Object | Accession Number: 1999.169.1

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    Brief Narrative
    Wooden farm wagon, handle, and pole of the type used by many Polish farmers and refugees before and during World War II. Poland was invaded by Germany on September 1, 1939. Many Polish Jews and non-Jews fled to eastern Poland in an attempt to escape the advancing German Army. On September 17, the Soviet Army occupied eastern Poland, per the German-Soviet Pact, signed on August 19, which included a secret agreement to partition Poland. Approximately 300,000 Jewish refugees were trapped in eastern Poland when it was annexed by the Soviet Union. In 1940-1941, the Soviets arrested and deported thousands of refugees and residents of eastern Poland to Soviet territories further east.
    use:  approximately 1939
    use: Poland
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection

    Physical Details

    Tools and Equipment
    Object Type
    Wagons (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    The letter components have been assigned for cataloging purposes.
    a. Weathered, wooden rack wagon with 4 ironbound spoked wheels and metal fittings. The rectangular, planked bed and faceted bottom side poles are nailed to horizontal end supports, with the top rails attached to bowed front and back rails. Metal X shaped pieces, with rosettes and corner rings, slide over each end of the top rails and bottom poles. Ten slats are nailed into slots on the sides of the bed and top rails. Near the front, scrolled metal side bars are attached to the top rail and horizontal end, with rectangular wooden supports bolted to the outer upper rail corners. Attached to the center of the rails on both sides is a 3 pronged, scrolled metal bar with a stirrup step attachment. The undercarriage has a front rectangular slot with 2 opposing openings and rectangular wooden bolsters to attach the front and rear axles. Metal rods extend from the axles and through the wheel hubs to attach the front and larger rear wheels. Front and rear hounds, parallel, vertical wood and metal pieces that curve out and up at 1 end, are bolted to the undercarriage. The front hound vertical ends extend through the front axle and bolster; the back hound curved ends extend through the rear axle and bolster. The rear bolster is secured by a center brace that extends through the front bolster and axle and bolts to a cross bar on the front hound. At the rear, the brace and hound overlap and are bound by a movable metal ring. The brace end protrudes from a circular metal opening above the rear axle; a metal spike on a chain secures the pole to the wagon. Left of the opening is an inverted glass triangle.
    b. Removable, weathered and worn, wooden yolk with a square end that inserts into a front slot on the wagon (a). The square end has 2 opposing holes for corresponding holes in the slot; a circular piece, which is missing, would insert through the holes to secure the pole to the cart. The circular handle end has spiral wrapped metal nailed to it and a metal end cap. A dark red, frayed velvet cloth is tied around the handle. It is split lengthwise along the shaft.
    c. Weathered wooden pole with a bark covered handle and jagged end, with a lengthwise split.
    a: Height: 45.000 inches (114.3 cm) | Width: 54.000 inches (137.16 cm) | Depth: 138.500 inches (351.79 cm)
    b: Height: 150.250 inches (381.635 cm) | Diameter: 10.500 inches (26.67 cm)
    c: Height: 32.125 inches (81.598 cm) | Diameter: 2.875 inches (7.302 cm)
    a : wood, metal, cloth
    b : wood, metal
    c : wood, metal

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The wagon was acquired by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1999.
    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:
    2022-07-28 18:23:45
    This page:

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