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Belgian Red Cross medal, ribbon, and box awarded to a Jewish Russian nurse

Object | Accession Number: 2007.212.3 a-c

Belgian Red Cross medal 2nd class with ribbon and presentation box awarded to Menia Awret-Back in recognition of her work as a nurse for Jewish refugee children in Brussels, Belgium, during the war. Belgium was occupied by Germany in May 1940. Restrictions were placed on Jews to exclude them from society. Jewish children and expectant mothers were not allowed to be treated in existing facilities. Menia, as a Jewish nurse, had to wear an armband with a blue cross in place of the usual red cross. Since 1938, Menia had worked for L'Ouevre Nationale de L'Enfance [National Children's Aid] and the Belgium Red Cross, which now established and staffed special treatment centers for Jewish patients. In summer 1940, the Germans began deporting non-Belgian Jews, which put Menia at risk because she held a Russian passport. The charitable agencies for which she worked successfully requested that she be allowed to remain because of the importance of her work. The Swedish Consulate wrote letters stating that she was a holder of a valid Russian passport and that they were placing her under their protection. Menia's husband Isaac was arrested and jailed for anti-Nazi activity in 1941. He and Menia were reunited after the war ended in May 1945.

commemoration:  1940-1945
received: Brussels (Belgium)
manufacture: Brussels (Belgium)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Serge Back
Record last modified: 2022-04-28 15:33:29
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