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View of Monte Cassino abbey through camouflage netting by a Jewish soldier, 2nd Polish Corps

Object | Accession Number: 2012.471.66

Watercolor study of the ruins of Monte Cassino abbey viewed through camouflage netting painted by 24 year old Edward Herzbaum on May 31, 1944. Edward was a soldier in the 5th Kresowa, 2nd Polish Corps, which was honored for their bravery during the four month long 1944 Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy. 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 waged by Allied forces to break through the German stronghold blocking the way north. Edward, 19, had left Lodz, 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 Lodz Ghetto in 1943. He studied architecture in Rome until the British decided to allow Polish Corps veterans to emigrate to England in October 1946. He then worked for two years for the Polish Resettlement Corps and completed his degree.

Artwork Title
Monte Cassino Through the Netting, May 31, 1944
Date
1944 May 31  (creation)
1944 May  (depiction)
Geography
creation : Cassino (Italy)
depiction : Montecassino (Monastery); Cassino (Italy)
Classification
Art
Category
Paintings
Object Type
War in art (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Krystyna Mew
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Record last modified: 2018-01-11 14:26:49
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn61303