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Stein marching compass in a hinged case acquired by a British officer

Object | Accession Number: 2003.465.7

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    Stein marching compass in a hinged case acquired by a British officer

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    Brief Narrative
    German marching compass in a hinged Bakelite case acquired by Lt. D.P. Grehan, a Royal Irish Fusilier in the British Army who served as a commanding officer in a Karaolos detention camp on Cyprus from March 1947 to June 1948. This compass was manufactured by the German company Carl von Stein around 1939, and often used by the German military. It is likely a variation of the TYP 39, although it does not have a sighting slot cut into the lid or inner disk. The internees were Ma'apilim, illegal immigrants, most Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, captured while trying to reach Eretz Israel without permission from the British. Great Britain controlled Palestine under a United Nations mandate and enforced very restrictive immigration policies. The huge number of postwar displaced persons led the British to set up the camps in 1946 as a deterrent. Ships attempting to bring unauthorized refugees were stopped by the British Navy and the passengers were interned on Cyprus. On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was established. Within six months, most of the refugees interned on Cyprus were welcomed into the Jewish homeland.
    received:  after 1947 March-1948
    manufacture:  approximately 1939
    received: Karaolos, British Army and detention camp; Famagusta (Cyprus)
    manufacture: Munich (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
    lid, bottom right, script, embossed : v. Stein
    Original owner: D. P. Grehan
    Manufacturer: Carl von Stein
    D.P. Grehan was born in Ireland. As an adult, he joined the Royal Irish Fusiliers, one of three Irish units in the British Army, and served in World War II (1939-1945). In March 1947, Lieutenant Grehan was stationed on the island of Cyprus, which was ruled by the British under a United Nations mandate. He served as a commanding officer at H.Q. 1, overseeing internees at the British detention camp at Caraolos. The majority of the internees held at the camp were Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, many of whom were captured while trying to immigrate to Palestine illegally. On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was established and, within six months, all of the internees on Cyprus were transported to the Jewish homeland. Lt. Grehan’s service in Cyprus concluded when the camp was closed in 1948.

    Physical Details

    Tools and Equipment
    Physical Description
    Hinged, black Bakelite case, with a circular lid with a front clasp, enclosing a compass set into the rectangular base. The base has a 70 mm ruler engraved on the beveled left edge, an embossed arrow in the top left corner, a curved right side, and a cut-out center. Within the lid and attached to the hinge is a movable, thin, flat, shiny, silver colored metal disc, that acts as a protective cover for the compass below. The compass, which has a cracked, clear glass bezel, is anchored to the center of a clear plastic disc set into the base. The disc has embedded black gridlines and the edge is engraved with Arabic numerals and lines to mark angular mils, 2 to 64, and the letter N. The compass face is printed with a ring of directional letters and angular mils in black ink. The central needle and some marks have radioluminescent paint. There are loose circles of paint within. The needle can be locked into place by sliding a small, side knob, which pushes up a lever beneath the needle. A 17 inch long loop of braided black cord is attached to the case front.
    overall: Height: 0.875 inches (2.223 cm) | Width: 3.125 inches (7.938 cm) | Depth: 3.500 inches (8.89 cm)
    overall : bakelite (tm), metal, plastic, glass, paint, radium paint, ink, cord

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The marching compass was acquired by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2003.
    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:
    2022-07-28 18:28:44
    This page:

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