Kiki the monkey puppet used by a young US soldier to entertain children in a liberated internment camp
1944 September 09
Vittel (Concentration camp);
- Object Type
Hand puppets (lcsh)
- Credit Line
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the family of Eldon G. Nicholas
Monkey hand puppet named Kiki used by 23 year old US Army private, Eldon G. Nicholas, to entertain children in September 1944 at the recently liberated Vittel internment camp in France. The Germans established the Vittel camp in 1940 to imprison citizens of neutral or enemy countries for possible exchange with German prisoners. However, over 100 Jewish inmates were deported from the camp and killed in Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. The camp was liberated by the 3rd Army on September 9, 1944. Private First Class (Pfc.) Nicholas served as an ambulance driver for the 548th Medical Ambulance Company of the United States Army in Europe during World War II. While at the camp, photographs were taken of Eldon with the puppet. In a V-mail to his father back home in Meadwataka, MI, Eldon wrote: “That’s where I had my picture taken with that little monkey, this woman made.”
Record last modified: 2020-06-30 09:20:02
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn37941
Also in Eldon G. Nicholas collection
The collection consists of an artifact, documents, and photographs relating to the experiences of Eldon G. Nicholas during his service in the United States Army in Europe during World War II. Accretion received in 2010: Copy print: black and white image of Eldon Nicholas and his assistant in front of their ambulance; Document: Citation Award for Meritorious Service Unit Plaque to the 548th Medical Ambulance Company; Letter: sent by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to members of the U.S. Army; Document: Welcome newsletter to American soldier arriving overseas; Map of the 36th Infantry Division campaigns in France, Germany and Austria; V-mail letter with envelope: sent by Eldon Nicholas to his family in Michigan, mentions Vittel and "that little monkey"; dated September 26, 1944; Book: "Medical Soldier's Handbook", with handwritten notes, pages, and a pressed flower originally inserted between pages; Photograph: group photo of the 548th Medical Ambulance Company of the U.S. Army during World War II.
Contains letters, maps, postcards, photographs, newspaper clippings, and military paperwork related to the wartime experiences of Eldon Nicholas, an ambulance driver with the in the 548th Medical Ambulance Company of the U.S. Army, which helped to liberate the Vittel internment camp in France in September 1944. Includes letters in which Private Nicholas references a monkey puppet he had used to entertain children in the liberated camp.