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Button from his military uniform given by a British soldier to a young Jewish refugee

Object | Accession Number: 2005.379.14

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    Button from his military uniform given by a British soldier to a young Jewish refugee

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    Brief Narrative
    Button with the Royal Coat of Arms which a British soldier pulled off his greatcoat and gave to 12 year old old Joseph Schadur on May 16, 1940, in Le Parcq, France. Joseph and his family had just fled Belgium following the Germany invasion.They stopped to consider their route in Le Parcq where they met a large number of British troops. When Joseph's father told one soldier that he was thinking of going toward Dunkirk on the coast, the soldier advised him to go south. He gave him gasoline saying that he did not need it since they were heading across the Channel. Joseph's father, Michel, left Germany in 1935 because the Nazi government's anti-Jewish policies were making it dangerous to live there. His wife, Manja, their 2 children, Joseph and his 4 year old sister, Benita, and his mother joined him in Antwerp, Belgium, in January 1936. After the Germans occupied Belgium in May 1940, the family was forced to flee once more. Traveling by private car, they eventually made their way to Lisbon, Portugal. They sailed for New York on board the SS Exeter on February 21, 1941.
    received:  1940 May 16
    emigration:  1941 February 21
    received: La Parcq (France)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Joseph Shadur
    front, innermost circle, stamped : G / VI / R [for King George 6th)
    front, outer circle, stamped : ROYAL ARMY SERVICE CORPS
    back, around border, stamped : FIRMIN & SONS LTD ˑ LONDON ˑ
    Subject: Joseph Shadur
    Joseph Schadur was born on April 23, 1928, in Riga, Latvia, to Manja (Masha) Hasenson and Michel Schadur. His parents moved to Berlin, Germany, in 1927, shortly after their marriage on June 12, but his mother returned to Riga for Joseph’s birth to be with her family. He had one sister, Benita, born in Berlin in 1932. They were not a particularly religious family, and attended synagogue only on theJewish high holidays. His father worked in the wholesale fruit industry. He travelled widely and was fluent in several languages. Hitler came to power in 1933, and by 1935, Michel’s business began to decline due to antisemitic boycotts and restrictions. That year while in Belgium on business, Michel decided not to return to Germany. With much difficulty, Manja obtained temporary tourist visas and she and the children joined him in Belgium on January 1, 1936. Michel was able to re-establish his business. The children attended a Tachkemonia Orthodox Jewish kindergarten and boys’ school. Joseph later transferred to a private French school. They spent the summer months at a children’s home in Oostduinkerke, where they explored the dunes and the bulwarks that remained from World War I.
    In May 1940, Germany occupied Belgium, and the family had to flee once more. They left by private car and reached Bordeaux before the French surrender to Germany in late June. For seven months, they managed to get by in Bruges, a country village near Bordeaux. With the assistance of Joseph’s maternal aunt, Gitta, who had emigrated from Germany to the United States in 1939, they received immigration and transit visas. The family left for the Spanish border on December 14, 1940. After two month in Lisbon, Portugal, they sailed on the SS Exeter to New York on February 21, 1941. From there, they proceeded to St. Paul, Minnesota, where Gitta and other relatives had already settled. The family changed their last name to Shadur.
    Michel returned to Europe for a few years in the immediate postwar period to work for UNRRA, the United Nations Refugee Relief Association, chiefly at Backnang displaced persons camp. Joseph attended the University of Minnesota. In 1950, he moved to Israel where he married Yehudit, who would become an internationally recognized artist for her rediscovery of the art of Jewish paper cutting. Joseph passed away, age 77, in October 2005.

    Physical Details

    Tools and Equipment
    Object Type
    Metal buttons (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Circular, copper allloy button. The front has an embossed crown atop a beaded double circle design. In the outer circle is English text; the inner circle has 2 scripted English letters with Roman numerals between. The back has a lug that goes through 2 holes in the center and English text around the border.
    overall: Height: 1.000 inches (2.54 cm) | Width: 1.000 inches (2.54 cm) | Depth: 0.630 inches (1.6 cm)
    overall : metal

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The button was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2005 by Joseph Shadur.
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-31 14:42:48
    This page:

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