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War Medal 1939-1945 and ribbon awarded to an Austrian Jewish woman, British Auxiliary Territorial Division

Object | Accession Number: 2009.294.2 a-b

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    War Medal 1939-1945 and ribbon awarded to an Austrian Jewish woman, British Auxiliary Territorial Division


    Brief Narrative
    War Medal 1939-1945 awarded to Lilly Feldmann by the British government for her military service during World War II in Africa and Palestine. In late 1938, 18 year-old Lilly felt forced to leave Vienna, Austria, because of anti-semitism and Nazi fervor. In her diary, she wrote: “It is a curse that I shall miss this home in spite of the fact that it hates and rejects me…I shall cry for you, you stupid, pitiful country.” She escaped to England where she joined the British Army and served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service Division.
    commemoration:  1939-1945
    issue: Great Britain
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Dorit B. Whiteman, Ph.D.
    a. front, embossed around the edge : G: BR:OMN: REX ET INDIAE IMP: GEORGIVS VI D:
    a. front, embossed beneath neck of portrait : PM
    a. reverse, embossed, upper right : 1939 / 1945
    a. reverse, center left side : ECṚP
    Subject: Lilly Feldmann
    Lilly Feldmann was born in Vienna, Austria, on June 23, 1920. In 1938, hating and fearing the unrelenting growth of violent persecutions of Jews and Nazism, Lilly escaped to England. In a final diary entry on November 14, 1938, 18 year-old Lilly wrote a farewell to her childhood and her beloved city:

    “I am going to leave Vienna shortly. The Vienna I love and will always love although now it rejects me and makes clear to me that it is no longer my hometown. It is a curse that I shall miss this home in spite of the fact that it hates and rejects me. Yes, I want to leave you but only because you no longer want me, Vienna, you poor Vienna, because you don’t know what you are doing. And I see you disintegrate, very clearly, because you want it yourself. I am leaving, it has to be that way, I guess; but I shall cry for you, you stupid, pitiful country. You have allowed yourself to be led around by your nose and now there is no return. I would feel better if I could hate you like all these others, but unfortunately, I cannot - . I now finish this notebook…a reflection of a beautiful and unburdened era.” (translator, unknown USHMM staff)

    Soon after arriving in England, Lilly joined the British Armed Services. During World War II, she was promoted to sergeant and was stationed in Palestine and Africa as a member of the Auxiliary Transport Unit. On September 15, 1943, she received citizenship orders for a certification of naturalization in the British Protectorate of Palestine. After the war, she asked the Red Cross for help in locating her mother, born September 15, 1898, whom she had left behind in Vienna. They told her that she had been transported to the Łódź ghetto, then to Auschwitz death camp where she was murdered. On December 30, 1963, the Austrian government issued Lilly a check for $348.64 as compensation for her mother’s death. Lilly never cashed the check. Lilly lived in Israel for 14 years, and then joined her cousins, Charles and Lillian Deutsch, in New York City, NY. Lilly died of cancer in 1964, aged 44, and was buried in Denver, Colorado.

    Physical Details

    Military Insignia
    Physical Description
    a. Circular, silver colored cupro-nickel alloy medal. On the front is an embossed image of a male head in profile, the crowned effigy of George VI, with Latin text circling the border. The reverse has an embossed image of a triumphant lion trampling a 2-headed dragon that symbolizes the Axis Powers with dates embossed in the upper right. At the top of the medal is a suspension ring with a cylindrical top bar bracket.
    b. Rectangular striped ribbon with a narrow central red stripe flanked by narrow white stripes, wider blue stipes, and with red struipes at the edges, the colors of the British flag.
    a: Height: 2.000 inches (5.08 cm) | Width: 1.500 inches (3.81 cm) | Depth: 0.125 inches (0.318 cm)
    b: Height: 5.875 inches (14.923 cm) | Width: 1.250 inches (3.175 cm)
    a : metal
    b : ribbon

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The War Medal 1939-1945 was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2009 by Dr. Dorit B. Whiteman, who received the medal from Gertrude and Charles Deutsch, Lilly Feldmann's cousins.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 21:51:06
    This page:

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