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Small, handmade, palm leaf cross carried by Anthony Acevedo as a medic and POW

Object | Accession Number: 2010.440.2

Palm leaf cross that provided comfort to 20-year-old Anthony Acevedo when he was a US Army medic and a German prisoner of war in the Berga an der Elster slave labor camp from December 1944-April 1945. He made the small cross from palm leaves during Palm Sunday before he was deployed to Europe. Tony was a Mexican American and Catholic who enlisted in the US Army in 1943. He was a medic in Company B, 275th regiment, 70th Infantry Division. In January 1945, the company surrendered to the German Army during the Battle of the Bulge. They were sent to a prisoner of war camp, Stalag IX-B, in Bad Orb, Germany, where Tony was tortured during interrogation. In February, he was transferred, with 350 fellow soldiers, either Jewish or undesirables, to Berga, a subcamp of Buchenwald. Berga was a slave labor camp where prisoners worked in tunnels and mines. Tony worked as a medic and was hid a diary where, out of duty and to honor to his fellow soldiers, he recorded the names and deaths of the many who died there. On April 3, as Allied forces neared, the prisoners were ordered on a death march. On April 23, they were liberated by the 11th Armored Division. Before being discharged, the roughly 160 survivors of Berga were forced by the US Army to sign an affidavit promising not to speak about their experiences in Berga. Tony was sent to California to recuperate and discharged in December 1945. In 2009, the US Army finally admitted that US soldiers had been imprisoned in a German slave labor camp.

bulk:  1944 April-1945 June
use: Berga (Concentration camp); Berga am Elster (Thuringia, Germany)
Object Type
Crosses (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Anthony Acevedo
Record last modified: 2023-08-25 17:19:56
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