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Star of David badge imprinted with Jude worn by a German Jewish man

Object | Accession Number: 2012.299.2

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    Brief Narrative
    Star of David badge worn by Adolf Daniel de Beer in Oldenburg, Germany. Adolf was president of the synagogue in Oldenburg and operated a large laundry with branches outside the city. In January 1933, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany and instituted government policies to persecute Jews. People were encouraged to boycott Jewish businesses and, in August 1936, Adolf closed his stores. The synagogue was destroyed during Kristallnacht, November 9-10, 1938. Adolf's wife, Mathilde, had converted to Judaism prior to their marriage and was issued the identification card of a non-Jew. They left Oldenburg and moved to Hamburg where Mathilde had family. Adolf lived in hiding and Mathilde kept them fed and housed throughout the war, during which Hamburg was destroyed by Allied bombing. After the war ended in early May 1945, the couple returned to Oldenburg. Most of their family members perished during the Holocaust.
    use:  approximately 1942
    use: Oldenburg (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Abraham Levi
    front, center, black ink : Jude [Jew]
    Subject: Adolf de Beer
    Adolf Daniel de Beer was born on April 29, 1877, in Emden, Germany. He married Mathilde Rebecca Scheunpflug who was born on March 14, 1876, in Salzwedel. Mathilde converted to Judaism prior to their marriage and was disowned by her family for that reason. The couple settled in Oldenburg where Adolf operated a chain of laundries. The couple had four children: Charlotte, born on September 1, 1906, Ilse, born on July 22, 1908, Erich, born on July 19, 1903, and Hilde, born on July 28, 1901. The Jewish community is Oldenburg was close knit, with under 300 members. Adolf was president of the synagogue.

    In January 1933, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. By summer, the Nazi dictatorship was firmly established and legislation to persecute and exclude Jews from German society was enacted. The Nazi Party was very popular in Oldenburg and many members of the Jewish community left the country. Hilde had married Helmuth Benjamin de-Levie, a Dutch subject. After she divorced him, she moved to legally to Palestine in 1936, and was joined by her daughter Hedwig Jocheved and other members of the extended family the next year. The Nazi government encouraged boycotts of Jewish businesses and, in August 1936, Adolf closed his businesses. Erich illegally emigrated to Palestine to join his sister in January 1937. During the Kristallnacht pogrom on November 9-10, 1938, the synagogue was destroyed in a fire set by anti-Jewish vandals. Adolf was arrested, paraded through the streets of Oldenburg, and sent to Dachau concentration camp, but was soon released. Charlotte, now Seligmann, and her husband left for Paraguay on March 17, 1939, and settled in Montevideo, Uruguay. Ilse had married Hermann Hirsh, who was born on April 5, 1902 in Hamburg. They remained in Germany and were deported to concentration camps.

    Mathilde held a German identification card that did not identify her as Jewish. She and Albert went to Hamburg where she had family. Albert had to stay indoors in hiding, but Mathilde was able to obtain rations and support them. The couple stayed in Hamburg and endured the firestorm bombings of Hamburg by the Allies. Erich had joined the British Army in Palestine and was captured by the Germans in Crete. He was held as a prisoner-of-war in Stalag XI-V and Stalag VIIIb in Germany and his parents occasionally received letters from him via the Red Cross. Germany surrendered in May 7, 1945. Albert and Mathilde were among a handful of Jews who returned to Oldenburg after the war. Ilse and her husband had been deported on April 19, 1943, via Berlin to Auschwitz concentration camp. Ilse was killed in Ravensbrueck concentration camp on July 20, 1944. Hermann also perished. Erich recuperated from his POW experience in England, and married Hannah Rabinovic, a Jewish refugee. They settled in Palestine (Israel) where Erich died in 1977. Charlotte and her husband later returned from South America and lived in Oldenburg and Munich. Albert, age 87, died in September 6, 1955. Mathilde, age 81, died on October 11, 1957. Several decades after the war, a street was named after Adolf de Beer in the Free City of Oldenburg.

    Physical Details

    Identifying Artifacts
    Physical Description
    Yellow cloth badge in the shape of a 6 pointed Star of David sewn to black cloth backing. The star outline is formed from 2 overlapping, dyed triangles and has German text in a font resembling Hebrew in the center. The badge has red stains, discoloration, and several small holes.
    overall: Height: 3.750 inches (9.525 cm) | Width: 2.750 inches (6.985 cm)
    overall : cloth, ink

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The Star of David badge was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2012 by Abraham Levi, the great-grandson of Adolf de Beer.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:26:47
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