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French Médaille de la Résistance with ribbon awarded to a German Jewish resistance fighter

Object | Accession Number: 2011.160.4

French Resistance Medal awarded posthumously to 18 year old Henri Engel, a German Jew living in France, who died while fighting with the French resistance during World War II. It was awarded by the French National Committee of Liberation to honor remarkable acts of faith and courage by the French people. It was awarded to Henri in 1960, and his sister, Margot, accepted it on his behalf in 1961. In September 1939, Henri and his mother, Lucie, were in Lyon, France, when Germany invaded Poland, prompting France and Great Britain to declare war against Germany. They were from Berlin, but were not allowed to leave and reunite with Henri’s sister, Margot, and their father, Erich. In May 1940, Germany invaded France, and occupied the northern and western regions, allowing the collaborationist Vichy government to control the south and east. The situation for foreign born Jews in Vichy France became progressively worse, and many faced internment and deportation. In November 1942, Germany invaded Vichy France. Henri joined the underground resistance movement and Lucie went into hiding. Henri's sister and father remained together in Berlin until Margot obtained an exit visa for Shanghai, China, and left. In March 1943, the Berlin Gestapo deported Erich to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, in German-occupied Poland, where he was killed. On August 7, 1944, Henri was arrested for acts of resistance and taken to Montluc Prison. On August 18, he was executed. Seventy-five members of Henri’s extended family were killed during the Holocaust. Lucie and Margot survived the war and later immigrated to the United States.

Date
1940 June 18-1945  (commemoration)
1960 May  (issue)
Geography
issue : France
manufacture : Paris (France)
Language
Latin
Classification
Military Insignia
Category
Medals
Object Type
Medals, French (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Margot Engel
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Record last modified: 2018-10-24 14:07:20
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn44005