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Handmade pin embroidered with her prisoner number made for a concentration camp inmate on her 16th birthday

Object | Accession Number: 2009.359.1

Embroidered cloth pin made for Nelly Kalecka's 16th birthday at the Rechlin slave labor camp in 1945. It was made for her by a friend in the camp who was a seamstress for the German officers. It is embroidered with the prisoner number assigned to Nelly in 1944 when she arrived in Rechlin. In 1941, Nelly, 12, with her parents and sister Sala, 17, was forced into the Jewish ghetto in Grodno in German occupied Poland. The girls evaded several evacuation transports, but on January 20, 1943, Nelly and Sala were deported to Auschwitz concentration camp where Nelly was tattooed with the number 31386 and Sala with 31387. Her sister fell ill and died within a few months. Nelly was in Auschwitz for 2 years. Some time in 1944, she was moved to Ravensbrück and then to Retzow-am-Rechlin. Nelly was liberated by the Russian Army on May 5, 1945, during a forced march from Rechlin. She stayed briefly in Breslau where she learned that she was the only member of her family who had survived. She settled in Prague, Czechoslovakia, for about a year until, with the help of the American Joint Distribution Committee, she immigrated to London in March 1946. She worked for the Jewish Monthly and wrote an article about her experiences in Auschwitz in August 1947. She also had her tattoo removed. Nelly joined her only known relative, an aunt, in the United States in 1950.

received:  1945 April 11
received: Rechlin (Concentration camp); Rechlin (Germany)
Pins (Jewelry)
Object Type
Brooches (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Nina Kaleska
Record last modified: 2021-02-10 09:15:56
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