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ID tag stamped with prisoner number 119503 issued to a Polish Jewish inmate in Mauthausen

Object | Accession Number: 2012.445.2

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    Brief Narrative
    Metal ID tag with prisoner number 119503 issued to 26 year old Moses Adam in January 1945 in Mauthausen concentration camp and also worn in Ebensee concentration camp until April 1945. It would have been attached to something and worn around the wrist. When Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, Moses was living in Przemysl, Poland, with his parents Don and Ita Adam, and his sisters Kaila and Fradel. Three weeks later, Przemysl was under Soviet control. In June 1941, the Germans reoccupied the city when they invaded the Soviet Union. In August 1941, Moses was interned in a labor camp. His family lived in the ghetto. In July 1942, Don and Kaila, who had polio, were shot, and Ita, Fradel, and Fradel’s daughter Ester were deported to Belzec and killed the next day. A few months later, the labor camp inmates were deported but Moses escaped and lived in hiding in the ghetto. In July 1943, the SS entered the ghetto and Moses volunteered to go to Płaszów labor camp, where he was made a kapo. He was transferred to Starachowice, then Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he worked in the hospital block following a serious injury to his head. As the Soviets approached in January 1945, Moses was sent on a forced march to Mauthausen. He was later transferred to Ebensee, where he worked as slave labor underground. Moses was liberated at Ebensee by the US Army on May 6, 1945. He was severely malnourished and weighed only 62 pounds. He recuperated in Italy before emigrating to the United States in 1948.
    use:  1945 January-1945 April
    received: Mauthausen (Concentration Camp); Mauthausen (Austria)
    use: Ebensee (Concentration camp); Ebensee (Austria)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Rita Margolis
    front, center, stamped: 119503
    Subject: Maury Adams
    Moses Adam was born on October 15, 1919, in Przemysl, Poland, to Don Mordechai and Ita David Adam. Don was born in 1872 in Dynow, Galicia (Poland). Ita was born in 1880 in Krosno. They married in 1896. Moses had seven siblings: Clara (Chaya), born January 1, 1900; Miriam, born June 30, 1901; Hinda (Hilda), born in 1904; Jacov (Jack), born May 12, 1907, all in Krosno; Samuel, born in 1911; Fradel (Freida), born in February 1914, both in Dynow; and Kaila, born in 1922 in Przemysl. Don, who was in poor health after serving in WWI, owned a tailor shop with several employees. He had three brothers living in the United States who sent money. The family lived in an apartment in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood and was Jewish and observant, but Moses was never religious. He attended public school, where he learned German and Russian. In 1922, Clara and her husband Milton Scheck immigrated to the US. In 1923, Miriam, Hinda, Jack and Samuel immigrated to Cuba and then the US. Fradel married Sender Dukatenzeler and remained in Przemysl.
    On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. Moses and Sender fled Przemysl. They had reached a town by the Soviet border when the Soviet Union invaded Poland on September 17. Moses, a Communist, decided to return home and gave a Soviet soldier a cigarette lighter in exchange for a ride to Lwow. West of Lwow, Moses was arrested by German troops. He escaped during the march to Krakow and returned home on September 27. Przemysl was divided between the Germans and Soviets along the River San. The Adam family was on the Soviet side. In summer 1940, Moses was drafted by the Soviet army. He was ordered to report for duty in October, but was allowed to return home because he was the only remaining son. On June 22, 1941, Germany attacked the Soviet Union. German troops reoccupied Przemysl on June 28. Ita was afraid Moses would be killed so he fled to Drohobycz. Moses convinced a German commander that he was a Soviet deserter and was given a pass to return to Przemysl. In August 1941, Moses was put in the forced labor camp in a school in Przemysl. He was made a kapo and helped organize the camp. They cleaned destroyed buildings. In June 1942, the Germans sent everyone from the labor camp, except Moses and six others, to Janowska concentration camp in Lwow. The camp was repopulated a few days later. In July 1942, a ghetto was established and the Jews had 24 hours to move there. The labor camp was relocated to a school in the ghetto. On July 24, the Gestapo notified the Judenrat that there would be an aktion on the 27th. Moses saw that the ghetto was surrounded by SS. On the 26th, Moses visited his family to say goodbye. On the 27th, he went to work in the city. His supervisor took him to the ghetto to find his family, but they were gone. A friend who worked at the train station told Moses he saw Ita, Fradel, and her daughter Ester being loaded onto the trains leaving for Belzec. All three were killed at Belzec the following day. Don and Kaila both had polio and were shot during the aktion. On November 18, 1942, the labor camp inmates were loaded onto trains to be deported. Moses smuggled pliers in his pocket, cut through the wire on the narrow window, and jumped out. He returned to Przemysl and hid for a few days with forced laborers he knew and then hid in the ghetto. He had to sneak out of the ghetto to trade valuables for food.
    On July 3, 1943, the SS came into the ghetto to collect volunteers for Płaszów labor camp, including Moses. Upon arrival, he was made a kapo. They built barracks to prepare for the camp’s transition into a concentration camp. In November 1943, they were sent to clean up the liquidated Krakow ghetto. The following day, they were loaded onto trains and taken to Starachowice labor camp. It had several factories called the Hermann Goering Works. The inmates melted raw materials for steel and made artillery shells. In February 1944, typhus spread through the camp and Moses got sick. In July 1944, Moses was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, where he was assigned prisoner number A-18674. He was severely injured with a cracked skull and broken jaw, and was sent to the hospital block where he had his jaw wired. After recuperating for a month, he worked in the hospital block. On January 17, 1945, the camp was evacuated because of the Soviet advance. Moses spent the morning burning old documents for the SS before being sent to Auschwitz I for the night. He was then sent on a forced march to Ostrava, Czechoslovakia, where they were loaded onto freight cars. They were sent to Mauthausen, where he was assigned prisoner number 119503. They were forced to wait outside in the snow for several days before being taken inside to be disinfected. After a few days, Moses was transferred to Ebensee. He worked clearing ice from the roads, with no food. He then worked as a forced laborer building factories underground. They worked 18 hour shifts with dangerous explosives and had very little food. He was temporarily sent to Wels to repair destroyed railroads. Moses was liberated in Ebensee by the US Army on May 6, 1945. Germany surrendered on May 7. The Army gave the prisoners medical care. Moses had his chest x-rayed on May 7 or 8. He was malnourished. When he left Auschwitz, he weighed 170 pounds. By the time he was liberated, he weighed 62 pounds.
    Moses left Salzburg for Modena, Italy on July 10, 1945. He moved to Santa Maria di Leuca and got in contact with his brother in New York. Moses moved to Bari and received his visa in December 1947. On February 11, 1948, Moses emigrated from Naples, Italy on the SS Saturnia. He arrived in New York on February 22. He was treated by the Jewish Consumptive Relief Society in Denver. Miriam lived in Washington, DC, and Hinda, Jack, and Samuel lived in Brooklyn. Moses settled in Brooklyn. On August 24, 1954, he became a naturalized US citizen and changed his name to Maury Adams. Maury never married but was close with his siblings and their children. Maury, age 80, died on August 2, 2000.

    Physical Details

    Identifying Artifacts
    Object Type
    Name tags (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Thin, rectangular metal tag with angled corners. The number 119503 is stamped in the center in large Arabic numerals and there is a circular hole punched on each short side. The tag was originally silver colored but is mostly discolored brown and rusted. It would have been attached to something and worn around the wrist.
    overall: Height: 2.500 inches (6.35 cm) | Width: 0.625 inches (1.588 cm)
    overall : metal

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The identification tag was donated the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2012 by Rita Margolis, the niece of Maury Adams.
    Record last modified:
    2024-02-21 07:11:17
    This page:

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