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Star of David pendant with a prisoner number made by a former concentration camp inmate

Object | Accession Number: 2003.436.1

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    Star of David pendant with a prisoner number made by a former concentration camp inmate

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    Brief Narrative
    Star of David pendant made postwar by Paul Rosenberg and given for safekeeping to Josef Fischman, a fellow former concentration camp survivor in 1947. It is engraved with Paul’s initials and his prisoner number, 194446, from Auschwitz. At an unknown date, Paul was sent to Auschwitz from Krakow, Poland, which was occupied by Germany in September 1939. He was transferred to Gross-Rosen concentration camp, where he met Josef Fischman, a Romanian born Jew from Sighet Maramures, then part of Hungary and invaded by Germany in March 1944. In May, Josef was deported to Auschwitz, and sent to Gross-Rosen, then transferred to Gross-Rosen subcamps, Wolfsberg, Falkenberg, Friedland, and Dornhau as slave labor. In spring 1945, Paul and Josef were liberated by Allied forces.
    creation:  after 1945 April-before 1947
    received:  1947
    creation: displaced persons camp;
    received: displaced persons camp;
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Joseph Fishman
    front, center, engraved : PR
    back, center, engraved : KL / Auschwitz / 194446
    Subject: Paul Rosenberg
    Artisan: Paul Rosenberg
    Subject: Joseph Fishman
    Paul Rosenberg was born in Krakow, Poland, to a Jewish couple. On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland and occupied Krakow. At an unknown date, Paul was transported to Auschwitz concentration camp and assigned prisoner number 194446. He was eventually transferred to Gross-Rosen concentration camp and woprked as slave labor in one or more subcamps. Paul became friends with anohter inmate, Josef Fischman, a Romanian born Jew, who was a slave laborer in subcamps Wolfsberg, Falkenberg, Friedland, and Dornhau. In spring 1945, Paul was liberated by Allied soldiers. On May 7, Germany surrendered. Paul and Josef maintained their friendship and reunited by 1947 when both were living as displaced persons in Germany. Paul died in 1947 or 1948.
    Josef Fischman was born on February 10, 1925, in Sighet Maramures, Romania (Sighetu Marmației), to David and Frida Birenberg Fischman. David was born in 1892, in Sighet, to a Jewish couple. Frida was born in 1891, in Sighet, to Alimelech and Chano Birnberg. She had one sister, Lenke. Josef had six siblings born between 1922 and 1932: Leib, Ilonca, Rucky, Alimelech, Yitzhak, and one other. In August 1940, as part of the second Vienna Award, Germany forced Romania to cede northern Transylvania, including Sighet, to Hungary. The Hungarian government required all adult Jewish males to register for forced labor. In June 1941, Hungary participated in the German invasion of the Soviet Union. In March 1944, Germany invaded Hungary. By April 20, German authorities had established a large closed ghetto in the Jewish quarter of Sighet. Josef was arrested and he and his family were forced to live in the ghetto.

    In mid-May 1944, Josef’s entire village was deported to Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. Josef was separated from his family. He was transferred to Gross-Rosen concentration camp and assigned prisoner number 38035. Josef was then sent to the recently established Wolfsberg slave labor camp. The camp was part of the Arbeitslager Riese complex, which consisted of fourteen Gross-Rosen subcamps in the Owl Mountains. The camps provided Jewish slave laborers for Project Riese, the construction of a new, underground, regional headquarters for Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich. Josef made friends with another prisoner, who was from Krakow, Poland, Paul Rosenberg. In December, Josef was transferred to Falkenberg, another camp in the complex. In early February 1945, Falkenberg was disbanded and Josef was marched to Wolfsberg camp. In mid-February, he was marched east to Friedland slave labor camp, a Gross-Rosen subcamp. In mid-April, Josef, was transported to Dornhau slave labor camp, the hospital camp for the Riese complex.

    On May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered. The following day, Josef was liberated. Not long after, he returned to Sighet and learned that only one of his siblings had survived. Everyone else in his family had been killed upon arrival at Auschwitz in May 1944. In early September 1945, Josef travelled to Feldafing displaced persons camp in Germany. He appears to have remet Rosenberg there. By August 1947, Josef had transferred to Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp. On September 21, 1948, Josef emigrated aboard the Canadian ship General Langfitt. Josef settled in Montreal, Canada. He changed his name to Joseph Fishman, and was a tailor. Joseph was an active member of his local synagogue. During the late 1950s, Joseph helped found the Association of Survivors of Nazi Oppression. During the 1970s, this group pushed for the creation of the Montreal Memorial Holocaust Center. Joseph, a founding member, served on the Board of Directors at the Center and was an active, life-long member. Joseph, 90, died in February 2015.

    Physical Details

    Physical Description
    Small, flat, brass colored, cut-work metal, Star of David pendant with open points and a solid center. The center is engraved with stylized, intertwined initials, PR, and KL Auschwitz 194446 on the back. There is a bail at the top, with a small safety pin attached.
    overall: Height: 1.000 inches (2.54 cm) | Width: 0.750 inches (1.905 cm)
    overall : metal

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The pendant was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2003 by Joseph Fishman.
    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:
    2023-09-01 09:00:08
    This page:

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