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Yarn doll, bag, and scrap of money found in a liberated camp by US soldier

Object | Accession Number: 1992.122.1 a-c

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    Yarn doll, bag, and scrap of money found in a liberated camp by US soldier


    Brief Narrative
    Handmade yarn doll within a cloth pouch with a torn bit of currency found by Harold Burdette Conlan, a soldier in 701st D Company, US Army, under a makeshift bed in a dormitory at the liberated Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany. The camp was discovered by troops from the 6th Army on April 11, 1945. Starving prisoners had already seized control of the camp after the Germans began evacuations. Other US Army units soon arrived to help care for the over 20,000 ill and malnourished prisoners and restore order and sanitary conditions. The war ended with Germany's surrender on May 7, 1945. Conlan instructed his family to reverence the items he had found and to never forget the tragic circumstance in which they were found.
    found:  after 1945 April 11-before 1945 August
    found: Buchenwald (Concentration camp) postliberation; Weimar (Thuringia, Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Ruth Conlan
    c. front, green ink : AVA / en
    c. back, purple ink : Böh / Fünf / 5
    Subject: Harold B. Conlan
    Harold Burdette Conlan was born on April 25, 1905, to Howard and Lillian Lightcap Conlan in Salamanca, New York. He had a younger brother Robert. Harold grew up in Mansfield, Ohio. He was a truck driver. In early December 1941, the United States entered World War II (1939-1945.) Harold entered the Army on April 22, 1942. He was assigned to 701st Company D and deployed to Europe in 1944. In April 1945, his unit was in Germany. Harold and his unit assisted in the liberation of Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar, which was discovered by the 6th Army on April 11.

    The war ended on May 7, 1945, with Germany's surrender. Harold returned stateside and was released from the Army on September 21. He was married to Ruth Silcott (1914-2005). The couple had two daughters. Conlan brought home several items that he had found in the liberated Buchenwald concentration camp. When he told his family about that experience, he instructed them to care for and reverence the items and to never forget the tragic circumstance in which they were found. Harold, 73, passed away on January 4, 1978.

    Physical Details

    Object Type
    Dolls (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    a. Small yarn doll hand made from bundles of light brown yarn, tightly wrapped in light green yarn. The doll has a flattened oval head with an embroidered face with black eyebrows, gray square eyes, a pink triangle nose, and a pink line mouth. Long brown floss hair is sewn to the top of the head. She has cylindrical limbs, with frayed flat ends on the arms and thread bundles for feet. The doll is dressed in a handmade white, blue and pink plaid elbow length blouse, a white apron, stained brown, with a ruffled lower edge, and handmade white underwear and camisole. It was found with 2 rusted metal straight pins inserted in the back of the shirt and apron as fasteners.
    b. Rectangular, hand stitched, discolored white cloth bag with the top edge hemmed with red chain stitch. The cloth is badly stained yellow and brown on the lower half on both sides and has small holes and a tear.
    c. Fragment torn from a funf [5] kronen note from the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, a German Reich Protectorate in the former Czechoslovakia.
    a: Height: 6.500 inches (16.51 cm) | Width: 3.875 inches (9.843 cm) | Depth: 1.000 inches (2.54 cm)
    b: Height: 7.500 inches (19.05 cm) | Width: 5.375 inches (13.653 cm)
    c: Height: 1.250 inches (3.175 cm) | Width: 2.375 inches (6.032 cm)
    a : wool, cloth, thread
    b : cloth, thread
    c : paper, ink

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The doll was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1992 by Ruth Conlan, the wife of Harold Burdette Conlan.
    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:
    2022-07-28 18:21:47
    This page:

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