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Israeli postage stamp commemorating the Warsaw ghetto uprising

Object | Accession Number: 2005.357.1

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    Israeli postage stamp commemorating the Warsaw ghetto uprising


    Brief Narrative
    Postage stamp issued April 24, 1968, in Israel acquired by Dr. Raul Hilberg. The stamp commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprisin. It depicts a Jewish fighter, based on a detail of the bronze sculpture by Nathan Rapoport memorializing the rebels, which stands in Warsaw. On April 19, 1943, Jewish fighters in the ghetto made their final stand against German troops sent to deport the last of the ghetto’s population to the death camps. The rebels managed to fight back for four weeks as the Germans resorted to burning down the ghetto building by building. Hilberg was a renowned scholar who published the first comprehensive study of the Holocaust and initiated the academic study of the Holocaust. Hilberg and his parents fled Vienna, Austria, after its annexation by Germany in March 1938. Almost all of his family members in Europe were murdered during the Holocaust.
    issue:  1968 April 24
    issue: Israel
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Raul Hilberg
    front, lower left, in olive : 0.60
    front, lower right and border, in olive : Hebrew text [Israel / To the ghetto rebels]
    front, left border, in olive : Israel
    front, left border, in olive : Arabic text [Israel]
    Subject: Raul Hilberg
    Raul Hilberg was born on June 2, 1926, in Vienna, Austria, the only child of Jewish parents. His father Michael fought and was wounded in the First World War (1914-1918). In Vienna, he had a business selling household goods to people on installment plans. His parents attended synagogue occasionally. Raul was never religious, but he did attend a Zionist school. In March 1938, Nazi Germany annexed Austria and soon passed legislation to strip Jews of their rights as citizens. The family was ordered out of their apartment by gunpoint. His father was arrested during Kristallnacht, September 9-10 1938, but was soon released because he was a World War I veteran.

    The family left Austria and after stopovers in France and Cuba, reached Brooklyn, NY, on September 1, 1939. Michael worked in a factory and Hilberg attended Lincoln High School. He enrolled in Brooklyn College until enlisting in the Army in 1944. He was deployed to Germany in 1945 with the 45th infantry division. He served with an Oklahoma division that liberated Dachau, but was not with the unit at the time. He was with the first troops that entered Munich. He was later assigned to the Army documentation division, which needed staff fluent in German. The war ended in May 1945. Nearly all the members of Hilberg's family on both his mother's and father's side were murdered during the Holocaust. Postwar, Hilberg assisted in the search for German documents to aid the prosecution at the war crimes trials. His unit was housed in the Nazi Party’s former offices in Munich. Crates containing Hitler’s personal library were stored there and Hilberg was fascinated by the contents. After his discharge, he returned to Brooklyn College and changed his major from chemistry to history and political science, graduating in 1948. He then focused on political science and international law and completed a master’s in public law in 1950 at Columbia University. He taught at Hunter College and then obtained a federal job in the War Documentation Project in Alexandria, Va., cataloging documents released from German archives, copying by hand material necessary to his own research. He received his doctorate from Columbia in 1955. His dissertation was on the Holocaust, which was not then a topic of academic study. His adviser, Franz Neumann, warned him that the subject would be detrimental to his career.

    In 1956, he took a position at the University of Vermont. In 1961, his book, “The Destruction of the European Jews” was published. It was the first comprehensive study of the Holocaust and established the field of Holocaust studies. It was a methodical, evidentiary work detailing the systematic, bureaucratic process that led to the mass murder of Jews as a matter of routine. Rejected by five publishers, it was accepted by the small Quadrangle Company after a patron, Frank Petschek, a wealthy businesman who had fled German occupied Czechoslovakia in fall 1938, agreed to subsidize the print run and purchase 1300 copies for libraries. In 1974, Hilberg offered the first college-level course on the Holocaust. He expanded his original work to three volumes and published five more books on the topic, as well as a memoir. He retired from the University of Vermont in 1991, after thirty-five years.

    Hilberg was dedicated to expanding the public understanding of the Holocaust. He was a key figure in the development and establishment of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, serving as an original member of the President’s Commission on the Holocaust (1978–79) and on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council from 1980 through 1988. In 2006, he received the Knight Commander’s Order of Merit in Germany, the highest award given to non-German citizens. Hilberg married Christine Hemenway in the 1950s. They had two children, and eventually divorced. In 1980, he married Gwendolyn Montgomery. Hilberg, 81, died of lung cancer in Williston, Vt., on August 4, 2007.

    Physical Details

    Hebrew Arabic English
    Exchange Media
    Postage stamps
    Physical Description
    Unused, rectangular paper stamp with perforated edges with an illustration of the head and upper body of a man holding a rifle. The denomination 0.60 is printed in the lower left. There is Hebrew text in the lower right border and corner and English and Arabic along the left border. A section of the sheet is attached above the top imperforation. The back is blank and coated with adhesive.
    overall: Height: 2.125 inches (5.398 cm) | Width: 1.000 inches (2.54 cm)
    overall : paper, ink, adhesive

    Rights & Restrictions

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    Conditions on Use
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    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The postage stamp was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2005 by Raul Hilberg.
    Record last modified:
    2023-12-07 13:18:32
    This page:

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