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Yellow, rectangular patch on cloth backing worn by a German Jewish woman in a concentration camp

Object | Accession Number: 2016.496.2

Rectangular, yellow patch worn by Irene Silberstein while imprisoned at the forced labor camp Merzdorf from December 1944 to May 1945. Irene had to sew it to her outerwear, cutting out the brown tweed from behind. This served as a deterrent for escaping; if she tried to remove it from her clothes, the cut out would be visible and she would be easily recognizable. In the fall of 1942, Irene, her father, and her grandmother were deported from Berlin to Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp in German-occupied Czechoslovakia. On September 28, 1944, Irene’s father was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Irene was deported there the following week, but her father had already been killed in the gas chambers. In early December, she was forced on a transport to Merzdorf in Poland. She worked in a linen mill, processing, spinning, and weaving flax. Irene was able to wrap some of the flax around her legs for extra warmth and eat some of the seeds when no one was looking. At night, they had to unload coal from trains, resulting in 16-hour workdays. Merzdorf was liberated by the Soviet army on May 8, 1945 and Irene made her way back to Berlin. After learning her grandmother had survived, Irene traveled to Deggendorf displaced persons (DP) camp, arriving in March 1946, the day after her grandmother left for Sweden. After a week in Deggendorf, she registered for passage to America, and arrived in New York on May 24, 1946.

use:  1944 December 10-1945 May 08
use: Maerzdorf (Concentration camp); Marciszow (Poland)
Identifying Artifacts
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Irene Frank
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 18:16:20
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