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Pametni Medaile Ceskoslovenska Armada V Zahranici (Czechoslovak Army Abroad) awarded to a Czech Jewish soldier

Object | Accession Number: 2007.228.2 a-b

Commemorative medal for the Czechoslovak Army Abroad 1939-1945 with ribbon and pin awarded to Franz Meissner for his service from 1944-1945 with the Czech Air Force for the government in exile based in Great Britain. The medal was awarded to those Czechoslovaks who were outside their country at the time of the German invasion, or subsequently escaped abroad, and joined Allied forces or all-Czechoslovak units. Franz arrived in England in September 1944. He was told that if he wanted refuge and a Czech passport, he had to volunteer for the Czech government in exile army. He served in the Royal Air Force in Scotland for the rest of the war. Frank, age 16, left Czechoslovakia in October 1939 because of the increasing Nazi persecution of Jews as Czechoslovakia was dismembered by Nazi Germany and its allies. With the encouragement of his family, he left for Denmark with members of Youth Aliyah, a organization that helped people to emigrate to Palestine. In 1943, the Germans began to deport all Jews from Denmark. Frank was warned that the Gestapo was looking for him and he was smuggled on a fishing boat to Sweden. He had been receiving weekly letters from his family, even after their deportation to the Theresienstadt ghetto in 1942; the letters stopped in 1943. After completing his education, Franz left for Great Britain where he joined the Czech army in exile. In the fall of 1944, Franz learned that his family had been sent to Auschwitz death camp. After the war, he returned to Czechoslovakia, searching for his family, but he found no survivors.

commemoration:  1939-1945
emigration:  1939 October
issue: London (England)
Military Insignia
Object Type
Medals, Czech (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Margit Meissner
Record last modified: 2022-04-28 15:33:29
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