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Unused red triangle concentration camp prisoner patch with a black letter I found by US forces

Object | Accession Number: 1991.198.10

Inverted red triangle badge printed with a black letter I intended for use as a prisoner identification badge in Langenstein-Zwieberge concentration camp, a subcamp of Buchenwald in Germany. The red identified a political prisoner. The letter could indicate nationality; I may be for Italian. The inverted triangle would have been attached on the left breast of the uniform. The camp was liberated on April 11, by troops from the 399th Battalion, 8th Armored Division, and 83rd Infantry, which captured all the camp records intact. This badge was one of many found by Lt. Colonel Charles F. Ottoman, US Army, on April 22, 1945. It was used as evidence for Case No. 117 "Alleged atrocities at Zwieberge Malachit Concentration Camp" at the Subsequent Nuremberg War Crimes Trials held in Dachau in 1947. Zwieberge subcamps were built from April 1944 to bolster the German war effort. Due to Allied bombings, an underground factory complex was designed to relocate armament works. The major subcamp, Halberstadt-Langenstein-Zwieberge [Malachit / B2 / Landhaus), planned for 2000 inmates, held more than 5000. Prisoners who worked in the tunnels died in about 6 weeks, at a rate of 30-40 per day. About 60% of the 8-10,000 prisoners died. Prisoners were sent to the camp from all regions invaded by Germany. Inmates included Jews, political prisoners, prisoners of war, and asocials, such as criminals, homosexuals, Roma, and vagrants. Living conditions were primitive, food scarce, and disease rampant. The SS camp fuhrer Tscheu was notorious for his cruelty, beatings, lengthy torture sessions, and hangings. The murder of prisoners was a common occurrence. Malachit was evacuated on April 9, 1945, as Allied troops neared. 3000 inmates were sent on a death march, which 500 survived. On April 11, US troops entered the camp. They discovered about 1500 ill and dying inmates who were transferred to a military hospital in Halberstadt. Residents from Langenstein were ordered to bury the dead in mass graves. No postwar trials were held for officers or guards at the Malachit camps, but the captured records of the camp were introduced into evidence for War Crimes cases.

found:  1945 April 22
use:  1947 April-1947 August
found: Langenstein-Zwieberge (Concentration camp); Langenstein (Halberstadt, Germany)
use: Case 117, War Crimes Trials, Subsequent Nuremberg Proceedings; Dachau (Germany)
Identifying Artifacts
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the National Archives and Records Administration
Record last modified: 2023-08-18 13:56:45
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