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Arbeitsjude [Jewish worker] armband with a Star of David worn in the Boryslaw labor camp

Object | Accession Number: 2007.199.2

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    Arbeitsjude [Jewish worker] armband with a Star of David worn in the Boryslaw labor camp


    Brief Narrative
    Arbeitsjude [Jewish worker] armband issued to 28 year old Eugenia Josefsberg Burg to identify her as Jewish forced laborer during her imprisonment in the ghetto in Boryslaw, Poland (Boryslav, Ukraine), established by the Germans in August 1942. Boryslaw had an important oil refinery and, for a while, the workers were not subject to the mass deportations to death camps which emptied Boryslaw of all Jews by 1944. Eugenia and her husband, Szymon, escaped from the ghetto around April 1943. With a small group, they hid in a dugout in the forest until the area was liberated by the Soviet Army on August 7, 1944.
    use:  1942-1944
    use: Boryslav ghetto; Boryslav (Ukraine)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Stefan Burg
    front, bottom center: A / 103972
    Subject: Eugenia G. Burg
    Eugenia Josefsberg was born on May 8th, 1914, in Boryslaw (Wolanka), Poland (Boryslav, Ukraine), to Samuel and Helena Wurzberg Josefsburg. She had two older sisters, Lorka, born in 1906, and Zofia, born in 1912. Her father was a clerk who passed away in 1928. Eugenia graduated from the public high school in 1932. She became engaged in 1934 to Szymon Burg, a petroleum technician and manager of a crude oil and gasoline refinery. Szymon was born on June 24, 1907, to Osias and Miriam Rozenzweig. He was the youngest of five brothers and also had five sisters: Moshe, born in 1890 and killed in 1917 while serving in the Austro-Hungarian Army during the First World War (1914-1918); Samuel, born November 29, 1887, who lived in Drohobycz with his wife, Jetta Itka Roth, and 2 children, Wictor and Blanka; Josef, born May 2, 1900; Klara, born 1898; Chaja, born 1897, and Hela Burg Engelhardt.

    In the first days of September 1939, Germany invaded Poland. They occupied Boryslaw, a town with about 13,000 Jews, on September 12, and appropriated Jewish property and put them in forced labor details. But the Germans soon withdrew because it was in the eastern sector of Poland which was ceded to the Soviet Union under the terms of the Nazi-Soviet Pact. Eugenia married Szymon in 1940 during this occupation. In June 1941, the Germans launched a surprise attack on the Soviet Union and, the German 17th Army occupied Boryslaw by July 1. German Einsatzgruppen [mobile killing units], with the vigorous support of large groups of Ukrainians, murdered hundreds of Jews in the first days of the re-occupation. German Aktions featuring mass murders and deportations to the death camps became regular occurrences. The early ones in November targeted old and sick Jews who were taken by Schupo and Ukrainian Auxiliary Police to Tustanovise, where they were executed. In August 1942, 5000 Jews were deported to Belzec killing center. There was some resistance. During this aktion, Berthold Betz, the manager of Karpathen Oil saved 250 Jews, including many children, by claiming that they were necessary workers. Szymon worked there a gasoline surveyor supervising gasoline quality. Eugenia was selected for forced labor in the oil refinery laboratory. Boryslaw’s petroleum industry was important to the Germans and, for a while, skilled forced laborers were spared from the Aktions.

    Eugenia and her family were imprisoned in the Jewish ghetto established in September 1942. The Aktions continued and the ghetto population soon was reduced from 5000 to less than 1500. Genia’s sister-in-law, Chaja, was murdered during the November 1942 roundup; her brother-in-law Samuel and his wife were killed in a mass execution in Bronia on June 21, 1943, though their children escaped to Warsaw. Genia’s sister Zofia Rozenkranz escaped to a nearby school where she was hidden by a Russian Orthodox priest until liberation. The German's intent to rid Boryslaw of all Jews was evident. In April 1943, Szymon was approached by an engineer, William Tepper, who shared his plans for escape. He chose Szymon because of his friendship with local, non-Jewish Poles whom he had worked with in the refinery before the war. A group, consisting of William, Szymon and Genia, Szymon’s brother Josef and his wife, and Genia’s sister, Lorka, escaped from the ghetto to the Boryslaw forest. Under Tepper’s direction, they dug out a hiding place big enough for all six. Szymon was in charge of getting food from his Polish contacts: Tadeusz Ulimkowski and Wrodzimieiz Raciborowski. These men and the Piecuch family supplied food, soap, and medical supplies in exchange for money and other valuables saved by the group. Szymon would meet them in different places to keep the location of the dugout secret. Tadeusz had contacts in the Home Army (AK) and he made sure that the hiding Jews were not bothered by them. Szymon met with them a little as possible. The area was liberated by the Soviet Army on August 7, 1943, but the group did not learn that they could come out of hiding until the end of the month.

    In 1945, the region was annexed by the Soviet Union and Eugenia and Szymon left Boryslaw. She had learned that her mother, Helena, probably was killed at Belzec in 1943. They settled in Gliwice, Poland, where they had a son, Stefan, in June 1946. In 1969, due to the antisemitic policies of the Polish government, the family emigrated from Swinouyscie, Poland, to Sweden. Stefan became an engineer, married, and had a daughter. Eugenia died, age 68, on November 25th, 1982.

    Physical Details

    Identifying Artifacts
    Object Type
    Armbands (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Rectangular armband made of layers of plastic, off-white cloth, paper, and cardboard with 2 grommets threaded with shoe laces that are tied in the back. Sewn on the front in blue thread is a 6-pointed Star of David with a red stitched A, for Arbeitsjude [Jewish worker], in its center and a number stitched below. The back has a handwritten inscription in ink.
    overall: Height: 4.000 inches (10.16 cm) | Width: 7.125 inches (18.098 cm)
    overall : cloth, cardboard, paper, thread, plastic, metal, dye, ink
    back, upper left corner, black ink : Eugenia / Josefsberg-Burg / 8/5 1914 / Boryslaw

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The armband was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2007 by Stefan Burg, the son of Eugenia Josefsberg Burg.
    Record last modified:
    2022-11-01 10:11:28
    This page:

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