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Metal remains of a Karabiner wz.29 bolt-action Mauser-type rifle found in ruins of Warsaw Ghetto

Object | Accession Number: 1992.134.1 a-b

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    Brief Narrative
    Metal remains of a Karabinek wz 29 Polish bolt-action rifle, found among ruins of the Warsaw Ghetto in the 1960s. Production of the wz 29 began in the early 1930s at the Polish National Arms Factory in Radom, and it was based on and nearly identical to the German Mauser 98k, the standard rifle for the German army. The wz 29 was the standard Polish infantry weapon when Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. A few days later, the factory at Radom was forced to shut down when local officials ordered the employees to evacuate. Despite Polish resistance, the Germans bombarded Warsaw with artillery and occupied the city on September 29. On October 12, 1940, German authorities in Warsaw decreed the establishment of a 1.3 square mile Jewish ghetto and required over 400,000 Jews from the city and nearby towns to relocate there. Between July 22 and September 12, 1942, approximately 265,000 Jews were deported from Warsaw to Treblinka killing center, and another 35,000 were killed inside the ghetto. That October, Jewish resistance groups made contact with the Polish Home Army, a Polish underground military movement that supplied them with a small number of weapons, including rifles, pistols, and grenades. On April 19, 1943, the resistance groups within the ghetto fought back against the scheduled liquidation, using hundreds of constructed bunkers around the ghetto. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising lasted a month before the German military suppressed the resistance, razed the ghetto, and transported the remaining inhabitants to forced-labor camps, and killing centers. On July 19, 1943, the SS established Warschau concentration camp on the ruins of the former Warsaw ghetto, which camp prisoners were assigned to demolish and clean up. The impending arrival of Soviet forces led to the camp’s closure in July 1944. A second uprising erupted in Warsaw in August 1, 1944, which was defeated by German forces on October 2. The Soviet army liberated the city on January 17, 1945.
    manufacture:  after 1931-before 1939
    found:  after 1960-before 1965
    found: Warsaw (Poland)
    manufacture: Radom (Poland : Powiat)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Muzeum Wojska Polskiego
    front receiver ring, left side, engraved: 51932(?)
    receiver siderail, left side, engraved: wz29
    rear sight, top, left column, engraved: 19 / 17 / 15 / 13 / 11 / 9 / 7 / 5 / 3
    rear sight, top, right column, engraved: 18 / 16 / 14 / 12 / 10 / 8 / 6 / 4
    Manufacturer: Pa?stwowej Fabryki Broni w Radomiu

    Physical Details

    Object Type
    Physical Description
    a. Metal remains of a Karabiner wz. 29 bolt-action rifle. The bolt, bayonet, and all the non-metal parts—the stock and shoulder sling—are missing, leaving the metal barrel, receiver, and trigger mechanisms. On the back end is a rectangular frame, below which is a curved trigger, and oval-shaped trigger guard. The trigger mechanism is exposed, leading to a rectangular, top-loading, fixed internal box magazine. Above the magazine is a tube-shaped receiver, which is missing the corresponding bolt. Engraved on the left siderail of the receiver is a model number. Behind the receiver is a rear bridge; in front of the receiver is a receiver ring, which attaches to a long, cylindrical barrel. On top of the barrel, in front of the receiver, is a flat-topped, hinged, rear sight with a central channel and two columns of engraved numbers on either side. Engraved on the left side, between the rear sight and receiver ring, is a serial number. A flat, oval-shaped sling band with two oval-shaped attachment rings hangs loosely on the barrel; the sling band would have been screwed in place to the now-missing wooden stock. Floating underneath the barrel, within the sling attachment rings, is part of a metal cleaning rod, which would have fit into an opening in the wooden stock. The front end of the cleaning rod fits into a receiver attachment for a bayonet (now missing), which would be fixed below the barrel. At the end of the barrel is a U-shaped front sight that wraps around the barrel. The entire rifle is various shades of brown and orange from rust and is heavily corroded.
    b. Curved strip of rolled metal, broken off the partially intact rifle (a). The strip is flat and rectangular, tapering slightly at one end. The opposite end is broken, and the entire piece is heavily corroded.
    a: Height: 4.000 inches (10.16 cm) | Width: 31.750 inches (80.645 cm) | Depth: 1.750 inches (4.445 cm)
    b: Height: 0.500 inches (1.27 cm) | Width: 1.875 inches (4.763 cm)
    a : iron, metal
    b : iron

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The rifle was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1992 by the Muzeum Wojska Polskiego.
    Record last modified:
    2023-05-24 12:51:09
    This page:

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