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Certificate for a French Médaille Militaire awarded to German Jewish resistance fighter

Object | Accession Number: 2011.160.5

Certificate for the French Military Medal awarded posthumously to 18 year old Henri Engel, a German Jew living in France, who died while fighting with the French resistance during World War II. The medal was awarded in 1960, to honor Henri’s death while fighting for France. His sister Margot accepted it on his behalf in 1961. In September, 1939, Henri and his mother, Lucie, were in Lyon, France, when Germany invaded Poland, prompting France and Great Britain to declare war against Germany. They were from Berlin, but were not allowed to leave and reunite with Henri’s sister, Margot, and their father, Erich. In May 1940, Germany invaded France, and occupied the northern and western regions, allowing the collaborationist Vichy government to control the south east. The situation for foreign born Jews in Vichy France became progressively worse, and many faced internment and deportation. In November 1942, Germany invaded Vichy France. Henri joined the underground resistance movement and Lucie went into hiding. Henri's sister and father remained together in Berlin until Margot obtained an exit visa for Shanghai, China, and left. In March 1943, the Berlin Gestapo deported Erich to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, in German-occupied Poland, where he was killed. On August 7, 1944, Henri was arrested for acts of resistance and taken to Montluc Prison. On August 18, he was executed. Seventy-five members of Henri’s extended family were killed during the Holocaust. Lucie and Margot survived the war and later immigrated to the United States.

commemoration:  approximately 1942-1944 August 18
issue:  1960 May
issue: France
Information Forms
Object Type
Certificates (aat)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Margot Engel
Record last modified: 2020-09-21 12:06:22
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