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Ceskoslovensky Valecny Kriz 1939 (Czechoslovak War Cross) with ribbon awarded to a Czech Jewish soldier

Object | Accession Number: 2004.643.3

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    Ceskoslovensky Valecny Kriz 1939 (Czechoslovak War Cross) with ribbon awarded to a Czech Jewish soldier

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    Brief Narrative
    Czechoslovak War Cross 1939 with striped ribbon awarded to Josef Hauptman in 1946 for bravery as a soldier during the war against Nazi Germany. He received the medal with a certificate (see 2004.643.1) on March 6, 1946. In 1938, Czechoslovakia was dismantled and its territory absorbed by Nazi Germany and its allies. Josef, 18, was drafted into the Soviet Army that year. He fought with Soviet forces for the rest of the war. He was wounded for the second time and hospitalized when the war ended on May 8, 1945. Sometime that summer, Josef became a member of the Czechoslovak Army. In December 1945, he was honored as a disabled veteran. Josef also received medals in recognition of his bravery during the war from both the Czechoslovak and Soviet governments.
    issue:  1946 March 06
    commemoration:  1939-1945
    issue: Prague (Czech Republic)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Joseph Hauptman
    front center, one number each corner of shield, embossed : 1 / 9 / 3 / 9
    Subject: Joseph Hauptman
    Josef Hauptman was born in Mukacevo, Czechoslovakia (Mukacheve, Ukraine), on June 5, 1919, to an Hasidic Jewish family. He had seven siblings. Josef was very devout and a frequent attendeee at the tish held by the Mukacevo Rabbi. Mukacheva was in the Carpathian Rus and had been part of Hungary until World War I after which it was made part of Czechoslovakia. In November 1938, Hungary reclaimed the territory with the support of Nazi Germany in the First Vienna Award. Sometime in 1938, Josef was drafted into a Soviet Army unit along with 1000 other Jewish men. He fought with the Soviet Army for seven years. He was wounded in a lung and an eye. While he was in the army hospital, a non-Jewish German doctor told Joseph that he should leave. Two days after Joseph left, the hospital was blown up.

    After the war ended in May 1945, Josef was repatriated to Czechoslovakia and made a member of the Czechoslovak Army. He was awarded several medals for his service during the war from both the Czechoslovak and the Soviet governments. The only surviving member of his family was a sister. Josef believed it was due to the protective presence of Hashem (God) that he survived. Josef married and the couple had two sons and a daughter. The family emigrated to Israel and Canada before settling in the United States where he Americanized the spelling of his name. Joseph, 91, passed away in 2011 in Queens, New York.

    Physical Details

    Military Insignia
    Object Type
    Medals, Czech (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Bronze cross barbee medal with crossed swords between the arms and an attached striped grosgrain ribbon. The front has an embossed escutcheon with the rampant, split tailed, crowned Lion of Bohemia. The reverse has a central embossed escutcheon with a number on each corner and a central encircled rampant lion. The arm points have medallions with embossed designs: top, Arms of Slovakia with a Cross of Lorraine; right, Arms of Silesia with a right facing eagle with a curved clover stalk; bottom, Arms of Carpathian Ruthenia with horizontal lines and a bear; left, Arms of Moravia with a left facing eagle. Attached to the top is a suspension ring attached to a jump ring through which the ribbon is threaded. The ribbon has 21 alternating equally sized stripes in 7 sets of red, white, blue. Attached to the back is a 2-pronged metal backing pin.
    overall: Height: 3.875 inches (9.843 cm) | Width: 1.750 inches (4.445 cm) | Depth: 0.125 inches (0.318 cm)
    overall : metal, ribbon

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The medal was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2004 by Joseph Hauptman.
    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:
    2023-08-31 14:42:47
    This page:

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