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Large red Nazi garrison swastika banner acquired by a US soldier/liberator, later signed by soldiers of the 80th Infantry

Object | Accession Number: 2012.436.1

Very large red Nazi swastika banner taken by 19 year old Paul Mercer, a US soldier, at the end of the four day battle to capture Kassel, Germany, on April 4, 1945. Paul and his unit, the 318th Machine Gun Squad, 80th Infantry Division, Third Army, faced stiff opposition at Kassel, which had a still operating Tiger Tank factory. At 12:30am, April 4, General Major Erxleben surrendered with about 400 troops. He wanted to present the garrison banner to the American commander but it could not be found. Paul had slipped behind the troops and removed the flag without anyone's noticing. The banner was later signed by fellow soldiers from the 80th Infantry Division following the May 7 surrender of Germany. After the Kassel surrender, Paul's unit continued to the Weimar region. On April 11, the 6 Armored entered Buchenwald concentration camp. Paul's unit was sent to relieve them the next day, Paul was assigned to guard the children’s barracks, Kinderblock 66. After the war, the unit was placed on occupation duty until deactivated in January 1946. Paul was awarded eleven medals, including the Bronze Star for Valor.

found:  1945 April 03
commemoration:  1945 May 10
found: Kassel (Germany)
Identifying Artifacts
Object Type
Banners (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Ilana Weltman
Record last modified: 2021-02-10 09:19:32
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