Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Watercolor of Monte Cassino abbey ruins by a young Jewish soldier, 2nd Polish Corps

Object | Accession Number: 2012.471.68

Watercolor of Monte Cassino abbey ruins created by 24 year old Edward Herzbaum on May 31, 1944. Edward was a soldier in the 2nd Polish Corps, who participated in the four month long Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy from January - May 1944. The Allies bombed the 1349 abbey in February and the resulting ruins provided protected defensive positions for German troops. The 2nd Polish Corps led the mountain assault in the May 1944 victory, the fourth battle by Allied forces since January to break through German defenses. Edward, 19, had left Łódź, Poland, shortly after Germany occupied the country in September 1939 to stay with family in Soviet controlled Lvov. In June 1940, he was arrested by Soviet security police and exiled to a forced labor camp. Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. Edward was released as part of an amnesty granted to Polish prisoners. He headed south to join the Polish Army of the East, known as Anders Army, a volunteer unit formed by General Anders per agreement with Stalin. In August 1942, the unit left Soviet territory and became the 2nd Polish Corps, British Army. In February 1944, they deployed to join the 8th British Army in the Italian Campaign. They fought their way north and were in Italy in May 1945 when the war ended. Edward learned that his mother had died in the 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 worked for two years for the Polish Resettlement Corps and completed his degree.

Artwork Title
Ruins of Monte Cassino, May 31, 1944
creation:  1944 May 31
depiction:  1944 May 31
creation: Cassino (Italy)
depiction: Montecassino (Monastery); Cassino (Italy)
Object Type
War in art (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Krystyna Mew
Record last modified: 2021-03-01 10:29:07
This page: