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Defence Medal 1939-1945, ribbon and box awarded to Jewish soldier, 2nd Polish Corps

Object | Accession Number: 2012.471.20 a-c

British issued Defence Medal (1939-1945) with striped ribbon and box of issue awarded to Edward Herzbaum for his service in the 2nd Polish Corps, British Army, during World War II. Edward was a soldier in the 5th Kresowa Infantry Division, 2nd Polish Corps from 1942-1945, and in combat with the British 8th Army in Italy from February 1944-May 8, 1945. The medal was received by his daughter in 1990 on his behalf. Many Polish soldiers refused their British medals as a protest against the government for excluding them from the Victory Parade of 1946 due to pressure from Stalin. Edward, age 19, left Łódź, Poland, shortly after Nazi Germany occupied the country in September 1939 for Soviet controlled Lvov. In June 1940, he was exiled to a forced labor camp by Soviet security police. Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. Edward was released in an amnesty of Polish prisoners. He joined the Polish Army of the East, known as Anders Army. In August 1942, the unit left Soviet territory and became the 2nd Polish Corps. In February 1944, they joined the 8th British Army in Italy. The Corps fought its way north and was honored for its heroism in the Battle of Monte Cassino. They were in Italy on VE Day, May 8, 1945. Edward learned that his mother died in Łódź Ghetto in 1943. He studied architecture in Rome until the British decided to allow Polish Corps veterans to immigrate to England in October 1946. He then served in the Polish Resettlement Corps for two years, completed his degree, and set up his own architecture firm.

commemoration:  1939-1945
received:  1990
issue: Great Britain
Military Insignia
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Krystyna Mew
Record last modified: 2021-03-01 10:15:19
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