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Africa Star Medal and ribbon awarded to an Austrian Jewish woman for service in the British Auxiliary Territorial Division

Object | Accession Number: 2009.294.3 a-b

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    Africa Star Medal and ribbon awarded to an Austrian Jewish woman for service in the British Auxiliary Territorial Division


    Brief Narrative
    Africa Star Medal and ribbon awarded to Lilly Feldmann by the British government for military service in North Africa, Abyssinia, Somaliland, Eritrea, Sudan, and Malta between June 10, 1940 and May 12, 1943. 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:  1940-1943
    issue: Great Britain
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Dorit B. Whiteman, Ph.D.
    a. front, center medallion, embossed around bottom half of border : THE AFRICA STAR
    a. front, center medallion, embossed in center : GRI / VI
    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. Bronze, six-pointed star with a circle in the middle of the star. The circle border has text inside, a crown at the top, and initials in the center. At the top is a suspension ring. The back of the medal is plain.
    b. Ribbon cloth with pale buff to represent the desert sands, with a narrow dark blue stripe on the left, a wide central red stripe, and a narrow, pale blue stripe to the right.
    a: Height: 2.375 inches (6.032 cm) | Width: 2.000 inches (5.08 cm) | Depth: 0.250 inches (0.635 cm)
    b: Height: 6.375 inches (16.192 cm) | Width: 1.375 inches (3.493 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 Africa Star Medal 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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