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Nazi Germany, 10 reichspfennig coin found in a liberated camp by an American soldier

Object | Accession Number: 1992.122.7

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    Nazi Germany, 10 reichspfennig coin found in a liberated camp by an American soldier


    Brief Narrative
    German 10 pfennig coin found by Harold Burdette Conlan, a soldier in 701st D Company, US Army, 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 begun 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.
    issue:  1942
    found:  approximately 1945 April
    found: Buchenwald (Concentration camp); Weimar (Thuringia, Germany)
    manufacture: Hamburg (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Ruth Conlan
    front, embossed : Reichspfennig / 10 / J [indicates Hamburg Mint]
    back, embossed : Deutſches Reich / ♦ 1942 ♦
    Subject: Harold B. Conlan
    Issuer: Deutsche Reichsbank
    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

    Exchange Media
    Object Type
    Coins, German (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Circular, tarnished, zinc coin embossed on the front with the denomination 10, with German text and the mint mark J between 2 oak leaves around the rim. The back is embossed with the Nazi Reichsadler, a right facing eagle with spread wings with a wreath enclosing a swastika held in its talons with German text and a year around the rim. The coin has a raised rim on both sides and a smooth edge.
    overall: | Diameter: 0.750 inches (1.905 cm)
    overall : zinc

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The coin 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:
    2023-08-31 15:15:16
    This page:

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