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Concentration camp inmate uniform pants worn by an inmate in Dachau

Object | Accession Number: 1999.86.4

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    Concentration camp inmate uniform pants worn by an inmate in Dachau


    Brief Narrative
    Concentration camp uniform trousers worn by Elkhanan Elkes (donor's father) in Dachau concentration camp.
    use:  approximately 1944 July-1944 October
    use: Dachau (Concentration camp); Dachau (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Joel Elkes
    Subject: Elkhanan Elkes
    Dr. Elkhanan Elkes (1879-1944) was a Jewish physician who, during the German occupation of Lithuania, assumed the leadership of the Jewish community in the Kovno (Kaunas) ghetto. Born in Kalvarija, Lithuania, Elkes received his medical degree in 1903 in neurology and internal medicine. In 1912, he married Miriam Albin. After serving as a physician in the Russian army, he opened a private practice and eventually became one of Kovno's leading physicians. In 1923, he was appointed head of the department of internal medicine at the Bikur Holim hospital in Kovno. His numerous private patients included the Lithuanian prime minister, the German ambassador, and other members of the diplomatic community.

    In August 1941 the SS ordered Kovno's leading Jewish citizens to select a leader to head the new Jewish Council. No one wanted to assume this role. Finally the community prevailed upon Elkes, citing his connections and moral integrity. He remained in this position for all three years of the ghetto's existence. Despite his own failing health, he provided moral leadership, helped the ghetto's medical community, and provided tacit support to the underground. Much of the day to day running of the ghetto was entrusted to his deputy, Leib Garfunkel, an attorney and former Jewish delegate to the Lithuanian parliament. Elkes acted principally as an intercessor with the German authorities to ameliorate the severity of their orders. In one famous anecdote, shortly before the ghetto's liquidation, Elkes made a personal appeal to SS Captain Wilhelm Goecke. Elkes promised to write Goecke a personal testimonial if he spared the ghetto; Goecke refused. Elkes was deported to Dachau in July 1944. There, he continued to offer medical care to fellow Jews until he succumbed to starvation brought on by a hunger strike. He died on October 17, 1944 at the age of 65. Due to his stature, he was allowed a public burial in a marked grave. Elkes was survived by his wife Miriam, who had been deported to Stutthof, and his two children Sarah and Joel, who were studying in England during the war.

    Physical Details

    Clothing and Dress
    Object Type
    Pants (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Blue and gray vertical stripes.
    overall : wool, dye, metal

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Administrative Notes

    The pants were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1999 by Dr. Joel Elkes.
    Record last modified:
    2022-09-14 15:47:26
    This page:

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