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Nazi armband acquired by Hans Praschkauer

Object | Accession Number: 2006.398.2

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    Nazi armband acquired by Hans Praschkauer

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Nazi armband that belonged to Hans (Heinz) Praschkauer. Heinz Praschkauer was attending the School for the Hard of Hearing in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland), when Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany in January 1933. Soon thereafter, anti-Jewish decrees were passed that restricted every aspect of Jewish life. Following the November 1938 Kristallnacht pogroms, Heinz’s older brother, Max, was arrested and imprisoned in Buchenwald concentration camp. After he was released, almost two months later, Max and Heinz made plans to leave Germany. They sailed to Shanghai, China, in May 1939, and their parents joined them the following August. After his parents arrived, Heinz set up a tailoring shop, which enabled him to make a decent living. In 1943, under Nazi influence, the Japanese authorities ordered the entire refugee community (around 14,000 people, the majority of which were Jewish) into the Hongkew district. The area became known as the Shanghai ghetto, and a pass was required to exit. Many people lost their ability to work in other districts, and became dependent on outside aid. However, Heinz was able to continue working while also taking classes, and eventually joined the Guild of Craftsmen in Shanghai. In the late 1940s, the rise of communism in China led the family to immigrate to the United States. Heinz and his parents arrived in San Francisco in October 1949, and moved to Pittsburgh, where Max and his family had previously settled. In Pittsburgh, Heinz met and married Marian Wells, a native of Pennsylvania.
    Date
    received:  approximately 1935
    emigration:  1939
    Geography
    received: Breslau (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Diane Kyle
    Contributor
    Subject: Hans Praschkauer
    Biography
    Heinz Praschkauer (later Hans, 1919-2004) was born in Oels, Germany (now Oleśnica, Poland), to Georg (later George, 1878-1956) and Babetha (later Betty, nee Reich, 1885-1971). He had an older brother, Max (1910-1993), and the family was among the approximately 200 Jews living in the town. Georg worked as a merchant, and the family lived a middle-class lifestyle. Heinz lost his hearing at an early age, so when his formal education began in 1926, he had a private tutor who was fluent in sign language. While Heinz was still young, his family moved to Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland). In 1928, he began attending the School for the Hard of Hearing where he learned oral speech.

    On January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. Anti-Jewish decrees were passed that restricted every aspect of Jewish life, but Heinz continued attending his small public school. Heinz also belonged to a Jews-only sports club. After completing school in 1935, Heinz began taking classes at a professional school, and started a tailoring apprenticeship. In April 1938, Heinz began taking lessons in English. On November 9 and 10, Nazi officials instigated violent pogroms against Jews and their property, known as Kristallnacht. During the pogroms, 30,000 Jewish men were incarcerated and held in German concentration camps until they promised to leave Germany. On November 11, Max was arrested and imprisoned in Buchenwald concentration camp. After he was released on January 2, 1939, the entire family began making plans to leave Germany. Georg and Babetha needed time to dispense with their property, so Heinz and Max left on their own. The brothers traveled through German-occupied Czechoslovakia and Austria to Trieste, Italy. They set sail from Trieste on the Italian Liner, Conte Verde, for Shanghai, China, on May 10. Heinz and Max had first-class accommodations, but were not allowed to disembark at any of the British-controlled ports on the journey. They arrived in Shanghai on June 4.

    Heinz and Max settled in the area of Hongkew, which was part of a large section of Shanghai the Japanese occupied during the ongoing Second Sino-Japanese War. It was an impoverished district, with poor sanitary conditions and limited indoor plumbing as well as heat. The climate was markedly different from what Heinz and Max knew in Germany; hot, rainy summers; cold, humid winters, and a variety of tropical diseases with little medicine available. Heinz obtained a job working for a tailor, then left that post to work with a different tailor and set up his own shop, after his parents arrived in August 1940. His clientele was almost exclusively European, and he was able to make a decent living. While in Shanghai, Heinz met many other deaf people from a variety of countries, with whom he was able to communicate relatively easy.

    In 1943, under Nazi influence, the Japanese authorities ordered the entire refugee community (around 14,000 people, the majority of which were Jewish) into the Hongkew district. The area became known as the Shanghai ghetto, and a pass was required to exit. Many people lost their ability to work in other districts, and became dependent on outside aid. However, Heinz was able to continue working while also taking classes, and eventually joined the Guild of Craftsmen in Shanghai.

    In the late 1940s, the rise of communism in China led Heinz’s family to emigrate. Max left first, with his wife and two young daughters. They arrived in San Francisco, California, in June 1948, and eventually settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After numerous oral, written, and physical examinations, Heinz and his parents also sailed for San Francisco on September 24, 1949, arriving on October 13. They joined Max in Pittsburgh, where Georg and Babetha Americanized their names to George and Betty. Heinz continued to work as a tailor and married Marian Wells (1918-2005), a native of Pennsylvania.

    Physical Details

    Classification
    Identifying Artifacts
    Category
    Armbands
    Object Type
    Armbands (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Rectangular, red cloth armband with a discolored white cloth circle with a thick border sewn on the front center with white thread. Centered within the circle is a canted swastika formed from black, grosgrain ribbon stitched in place with black thread. The long edges of the band are hemmed with red thread, while the short ends are unfinished. There are lines of small holes along the full height of the right end and at the center of the left end with traces of red thread in several. The lower left portion of the white circle has pulled away from the band beneath and has been repaired with loose stitches in additional white thread.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 15.500 inches (39.37 cm) | Width: 4.375 inches (11.113 cm)
    Materials
    overall : cloth, thread, ribbon

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Corporate Name
    Nazi Party

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The armband was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2006 by Diane Kyle, the niece of Hans Praschkauer.
    Record last modified:
    2023-10-10 12:00:39
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn44551

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