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Circular patch with a yellow Star of David worn by a Jewish Romanian woman

Object | Accession Number: 2016.487.1

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    Circular patch with a yellow Star of David worn by a Jewish Romanian woman

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    Brief Narrative
    Handmade, Star of David patch on a black background that belonged to Pincu Kaiserman’s sister, likely Rosa, in Romania, sometime between September 10, 1941 and 1943. In September 1940, Romania fell under the rule of a radical military coalition led by General Antonescu and the Iron Guard, a fascist, anti-Semitic military group of Nazi collaborators. In November, Romania joined the Axis Alliance and began passing many anti-Semitic laws similar to Germany’s Nuremberg Laws. On June 26, 1941, Romanian authorities accused members of the Iași Jewish community, where the Kaiserman family lived, of being Soviet collaborators, prompting Romanian and German soldiers, local police, and civilians to carry out widespread raids, beatings, and murders during the next few days. Pincu and his sisters, Rosa and Clarisa, were in hiding on June 29 during the Iași pogrom, when thousands of Jews were massacred. They survived and had to live under many anti-Jewish restrictions like being allowed to move about freely only during daily restricted periods. In September 1941, Romanian authorities decreed that all Jews in Eastern territories had to wear a yellow Star of David patch. Marshal Antonescu countered the decree; however, Jews in the nearby annexed regions of Bukovina and Bessarabia where the Kaiserman’s likely had to travel to, were still required to wear them. In October 1943, Pincu was recruited to perform forced labor near Iași. On August 20, 1944, Soviet forces entered Iași, and three days later the Romanian Army joined Allied forces against Germany.
    use:  1941 September 10-1943
    use: Romania
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Pincu Kaiserman and Comunitatea Evreilor din Iasi
    Subject: Pincu Kaiserman
    Pincu Kaiserman (1924 - ?) was born in Romania to Avram and Rifca Kaiserman. Pincu had two sisters, Rosa (1923? - ?) and Clarisa (1927 - ?, later Tucarman). Pincu’s family was part of a large vibrant Jewish community of approximately 55,000 people in Iași. Pincu and his sisters attended the local Jewish kindergarten and school and spent time vacationing in nearby towns with their mother during the summer. During the summer of 1940, Romania was forced to cede large regions to the Soviet Union, Hungary, and Bulgaria. Iași was located in what remained of Romania, which fell under the rule of a radical military coalition led by General Antonescu. In November, Romania joined the Axis Alliance and began passing many anti-Semitic laws similar to Germany’s Nuremberg Laws. In June 1941, Romania joined the German invasion of the Soviet Union. On June 26, Pincu, Rosa, and Clarisa were in hiding when the local Romanian authorities and police began a pogrom against the Jews by accusing the Jewish community of collaborating with Soviet forces. Jewish homes were raided, men were rounded up, and many suspected collaborators were taken to the Chestura, the central headquarters of the police. During the next 2 days, Romanian soldiers, police, and civilians robbed Jews, beat and shot them, and began to distribute posters calling for their massacre. Rumors spread that Jews were helping Soviet paratroopers, which prompted increased raids and murders.

    On June 29, many Jews were forced to march through the streets with their arms raised until they reached the Chestura, as civilians, soldiers, and police spat at them and hit them with stones, broken glass, clubs, and rifle butts. Those who could not continue to march were shot. In the afternoon, the Romanian authorities lost control and the German and Romanian soldiers and Romanian policeman opened fire into the crowded Chestura. Hundreds were massacred and their bodies were stripped of valuables before being thrown into carts and buried in communal graves at the Jewish cemetery or left at the garbage dump. That night, 2,500 survivors of the massacre were marched to the train station and forced to board unventilated, overcrowded cattle cars. These evacuation trains took circuitous routes to their destinations, and hundreds died from their injuries, suffocation, heat exhaustion, and dehydration during the 17 hour trip to ghettos in other towns. Pincu, Rosa, and Clarisa survived the pogrom in hiding and were able to stay in town. Later on, many of the transport survivors were returned to Iași and recruited to join forced labor battalions.

    On October 3, 1943, Pincu was selected to serve in a forced labor battalion in the area. In summer 1944, as Soviet forces moved deeper into Romania, a group of opposition leaders, supported by King Michael, overthrew Antonescu. On August 23, 1944, those politicians signed an armistice with the Soviet Union and the Romanian Army joined Allied forces against Germany. On May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered. After the war, Rosa and Pincu remained in Iași, Rosa working as a librarian. In 1953, Clarisa moved to Bucharest. In 1965, she married Iancu Tucarman (b. 1922), an agricultural engineer originally from Iași. Pincu later served as the president of the Iași Jewish community, Comunitatea Evreilor din Iași, and Iancu became a member of the Association of the Jews in Romania Victims of the Holocaust.

    Physical Details

    Identifying Artifacts
    Physical Description
    Circular, black cloth patch with a light yellow, 6 pointed Star of David in the center. The star is formed from two overlapping, raised nap cloth triangles blanket stitched to the circular backing with light yellow thread. The backing consists of two layers of cloth stitched together along the edges with a hidden seam. There are loose running stitches in black thread on the back, where the patch was likely attached to clothing and later removed. The star and yellow thread are lightly stained by black transfer from the backer and there is a large hole in the top layer of the star. The backer is worn with several loose black and white threads on the back.
    overall: | Diameter: 3.125 inches (7.938 cm)
    overall : cloth, thread

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    Romania. Iași (Romania)

    Administrative Notes

    The Star of David badge was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2016 by the Comunitatea Evreilor din Iasi on behalf of Pincu Kaiserman.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:29:51
    This page:

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