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Self portrait drawing created by a Jewish soldier, 2nd Polish Corps

Object | Accession Number: 2012.471.62

Self portrait pencil sketch created by 24 year old Edward Herzbaum circa 1943-1944 when, as a soldier in the 5th Kresowa, 2nd Polish Corps, he was training with the British Army in the Middle East. Edward was a soldier in the Polish Army of the East which had marched south in 1941-1942 from the Soviet Union to join the British Army in Iraq. 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. He went to stay with family in 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 as part of an amnesty granted to Polish prisoners. He headed south to join Anders Army, a Polish military unit formed by General Anders per agreement with Stalin. In August 1942, the unit left Soviet territory and became the 2nd Polish Corps in the British Army. In February 1944, they deployed to join the 8th British Army in the Italian Campaign. 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 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 served in the Polish Resettlement Corps for two years and completed his degree.

Artwork Title
Lost in Thought
creation:  1943-1944
creation: Middle East
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Krystyna Mew
Record last modified: 2023-08-25 12:47:47
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