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Luftwaffe paratrooper badge with a yellow eagle acquired by a German Jewish refugee in the British army

Object | Accession Number: 2012.478.7

Luftwaffe (German Air Force) paratrooper badge, acquired by Manfred Gans, a German Jewish refugee who served as a Marine Commando for the British Army from May 1944 to May 1945. This type of patch was issued to German paratroopers who had successfully completed six jumps. Gans took the badge from a prisoner who claimed to have been the driver for Erwin Rommel during his command of the German forces in North Africa from 1941-1943. He sent the badge in a letter dated 27 October 1944 to his friend, Anita Lamm, who had immigrated to the United States. For Anita, the badge symbolized hope for victory and the end of the war. In 1940, Manfred enlisted in the British Army, where he spent two years assigned to a labor unit before being recruited for a Special Forces troop, which landed at Normandy on June 6, 1944. As his unit advanced through France, Belgium, and northern Germany, it was Manfred’s mission to infiltrate German positions to convince soldiers to surrender, interrogate prisoners, and gather intelligence. Manfred learned from his uncle that his parents had been imprisoned in Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp in German-occupied Czechoslovakia, but he did not know if they were still alive. He drove across enemy lines to find out, and learned they had survived. They were reunited in Theresienstadt on May 11, 1945. His parents returned to the Netherlands in July and he was demobilized in August. Manfred married Anita in 1948 and moved to the United States in 1950.

Date
after 1944 July-before 1944 October 25  (found)
Geography
issue : Germany
Classification
Military Insignia
Category
Badges
Genre/Form
Badges.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Daniel Gans and Aviva Gans-Rosenberg
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Record last modified: 2019-02-11 06:58:58
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn596949