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Unused yellow stripe concentration camp prisoner patch found by US forces

Object | Accession Number: 1991.198.4

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    Unused yellow stripe concentration camp prisoner patch found by US forces
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    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Blank yellow bar patch intended for use as an identification badge for a Jewish prisoner in Langenstein-Zwieberge concentration camp, a subcamp of Buchenwald in Germany. This badge would be used with a separate inverted triangle patch, possibly of a different color, to indicate that the prisoner was Jewish. Both patches would be attached to a cloth strip and attached to the uniform, usually on the chest. 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.
    Date
    found:  1945 April 22
    use:  1947 April-1947 August
    Geography
    found: Langenstein-Zwieberge (Concentration camp); Langenstein (Halberstadt, Germany)
    use: Case 117, War Crimes Trials, Subsequent Nuremberg Proceedings; Dachau (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the National Archives and Records Administration
    Contributor
    Subject: Charles F. Ottoman
    Biography
    Lieutenant Colonel Charles F. Ottoman (April 11, 1890- September 7, 1946) served in the United States Army, Corps of Engineers, during World War II. He handled the investigation of Zwieberge-Malachit concentration camp for evidence of war crimes for use in the War Crimes Trials planned by the Allies following the end of the war. 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. Immediately following the capture, Lt. Colonel Ottoman discovered and researched the camp materials. He later testified to their provenance for the War Crimes Trials. Malachit was a notoriously cruel camp, where beatings, lengthy torture sessions, hangings, and the murder of prisoners was a common occurrence. No postwar trials were held for officers or guards at the Malachit camps, but the captured records of the camp provided in-depth documentation of atrocities and the concentration camp system which was introduced into evidence for War Crimes cases.

    Physical Details

    Classification
    Identifying Artifacts
    Category
    Badges
    Physical Description
    Small, narrow, bright gold cloth rectangle, folded and unevenly stitched with white thread lengthwise across the center. The short ends are unfinished and frayed. The patch appears unused. For use, this patch, which identified a Jewish prisoner, would be combined with triangle patch.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 0.375 inches (0.953 cm) | Width: 2.500 inches (6.35 cm)
    Materials
    overall : cotton

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The unused cloth badge was transferred to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1991 by the National Archives and Records Administration.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-09-15 10:20:01
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn4802

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