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Handmade American flag created by former concentration camp inmates and given to a U.S. liberator

Object | Accession Number: 2015.450.1

Handmade American flag given to U.S. Sergeant Donald Hall following the liberation of the Langenstein concentration camp in the spring of 1945. The flag was hand painted on a simple weave cloth, and given to Donald by grateful prisoners of the camp. Hall was drafted in August 1943 and served as a supply truck driver for the 331st Infantry Regiment, 83rd Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. In the weeks following the D-Day invasion in June 1944, the 83rd landed at Omaha Beach and fought in the Battle of the Bulge that December. In March 1945, they crossed Germany’s Rhine River and proceeded towards the Elbe River, earning the nickname of the “Rag-Tag Circus.” During this campaign, the 83rd and the 399th Battalion of the 8th Armored Division liberated Langenstein concentration camp, a subcamp of Buchenwald, on April 11, 1945. The troops found over 1,000 emaciated inmates that had been forced to work sixteen-hour days and were dying at a rate of 25-30 people per day. Hall was honorably discharged from the Army with the rank of Sergeant on December 16, 1945 as part of the demobilization of forces from Europe. He earned the “Ruptured Duck” Honorable Service Lapel Button in addition to the EAME theater ribbon with five bronze stars (one for each campaign), Good Conduct Ribbon, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Unit Award, and Victory Medal.

Date
received:  1945 April 11
Geography
creation: Langenstein (Concentration camp); Langenstein (Halberstadt, Germany)
received: Langenstein (Concentration camp); Langenstein (Halberstadt, Germany)
Classification
Identifying Artifacts
Category
Flags
Object Type
Flags (lcsh)
Genre/Form
Flags.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the family of Donald J. Hall
 
Record last modified: 2021-02-10 09:25:10
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn186501