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Refugee, a honey brown teddy bear with a pink robe, owned by a young Jewish girl who had lived in hiding as a Catholic

Object | Accession Number: 2002.441.5

Small, golden teddy bear named Refugee received by eight year old Zofia (Selma) Scharzwald from her mother as a birthday or Christmas present after the war ended in May 1945. Her aunt crocheted a coat for it. Zofia named it Refugee because she thought its uneven eyes made it look " a little down and out." Zofia and her mother, Laura, escaped from the ghetto in German occupied Lvov, Poland (Lviv, Ukraine) after her father was shot by the Gestapo in 1942. They adopted false identities as Catholics and lived briefly in Krakow, then moved to Busko Zdroj. Selma attended Catholic school and had her First Communion after the city was liberated by the Soviet Army in January 1945. They emigrated to England in 1948 after there were violent anti-Jewish riots in the area. That was when Zofia learned that she was Jewish; news that shocked her after her upbringing in an antisemitic environment where she had been taught to hate Jews. In December 2006, a replica of Refugee was taken on a mission of the space Shuttle, Discovery, by Commander Mark Polansky. Each astronaut is invited to take a few items and Polansky took Refugee and a contemporary photograph of a child refugee from Darfur.

received:  approximately 1946
Stuffed animals
Object Type
Teddy bears (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Sophie Turner-Zaretsky
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 18:10:33
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