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Watercolor of an oil refinery created by a young Jewish soldier, 2nd Polish Corps

Object | Accession Number: 2012.471.48

Watercolor painting of an oil refinery in the desert created by 23 year old Edward Herzbaum in March 1943 in Kanaqin (Khanaqin), Iraq. Edward was a soldier in the Polish Army of the East which had marched south from the Soviet Union to join the British Army in Iraq as the Polish 2nd Corps. They journeyed to the border town of Kanaqin where the British had a large military base and field hospital where many died after the long, arduous march from Russia. There were oil fields near the city and it was also along a major Muslim pilgrimage route. The Corps next went to Habbiniya where from March-September 1943 they received artillery and other military training. Edward, age 19, left Łódź, Poland, shortly after Nazi Germany occupied the country in September 1939 for Soviet controlled Lvov. In June 1940, Edward was arrested by Soviet security police and exiled to a forced labor camp. Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. Edward was released in an amnesty of Polish prisoners and joined Anders Army. In August 1942, the unit left Soviet territory and became the 2nd Polish Corps. In February 1944, they deployed to join the 8th British Army in Italy. The Corps fought its way north and was honored for their bravery in the May 1944 Battle of Monte Cassino. They were in Italy on May 7, 1945, when the war ended. Edward learned that his mother had 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 and completed his degree.

Artwork Title
Oil Refinery at Kanaqin, March 1943
creation:  1943 March
depiction:  1943 March
creation: Khanaqin (Iraq)
depiction: Khanaqin (Iraq)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Krystyna Mew
Record last modified: 2021-03-08 16:25:45
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