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Iron Cross, 1st class, medal from WWII acquired by a Jewish German emigre and US soldier

Object | Accession Number: 2003.149.77

Iron Cross, 1st class, medal, dated 1939 acquired by Rudolph Sichel, a Jewish refugee from Frankfurt, Germany, who served in the US Army in Europe from July 1944 to June 1946. The 1st class medal was awarded to soldiers of the German Army who performed 4 or 5 acts of bravery. In May 1936, Sichel, unable to return to Germany from England, left for the US. In April 1943, he enlisted in the army and was sent to Camp Ritchie for military intelligence training. In July 1944, Sichel, now Chief Interrogator, Interrogation of Prisoners of War Team 13, landed on Utah Beach in France, where his unit was attached to the 104th Infantry, the Timberwolf Division. As the unit advanced through France, Belgium, and into Germany, Sichel interrogated those captured. On April 11, 1945, the unit liberated Dora-Mittelbau/Nordhausen concentration camp and Rudolph witnessed the horrific conditions. A skilled photographer, he took snapshots of the camp and other events of his military tour. Following Germany’s surrender in May, 2nd Lt. Sichel was attached to the 9th Army. He interrogated prisoners of war and civilian witnesses, and did fact finding for war crimes trials. In June 1946, 1st Lt. Sichel returned to the US. He was awarded a Bronze Star for his service.

commemoration:  1939
received:  after 1944 July-before 1946 June
issue: Germany
Military Insignia
Object Type
Medals, German (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Howard S. Sichel and Linda Sichel Strohmenger
Record last modified: 2020-06-30 09:27:33
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