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SS Totenkopf (Death’s head) ring taken from an SS officer by a liberator and later given to a Holocaust survivor

Object | Accession Number: 1992.206.1

SS Ehrenring [honor ring] given to Benjamin Meed on October 24, 1992, by a liberator, who removed it from the finger of an SS officer in Germany in 1945. The rings, also called Totenkopfrings [Death’s head rings], were engraved with Himmler's name and were a highly prized award for SS officers. The SS (Schutztaffel; Protection Squadron) controlled the police forces and the concentration camp system for the Nazi Reich. In 1939, they created the Final Solution to eliminate the Jewish problem. Benjamin and his wife Vladka were Jewish resistance members in Warsaw, where they lived in the Ghetto and in hiding during the German occupation of Poland. They emigrated to the US in 1946. The couple were leaders in the survivor community and in promoting education about the Holocaust. In 1963, they founded the Warsaw Ghetto Resistance Organization, having helped commemorate the event since 1945. In 1981, Ben and Vladka worked to establish the World Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors in Jerusalem and, in 1983, organized the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors. Benjamin served as president of the American Gathering until his death in 2006. A Registry of Jewish Holocaust Survivors was created during his leadership. In 1978, Benjamin served on the Advisory Board of the President’s Commission on the Holocaust which recommended the establishment of a national museum. He was a founder of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and served on the Memorial Council from 1980-2004.

issue:  1939 June 21
found:  approximately 1945 April
received:  1992 October 24
found: Germany
Object Type
Signet rings (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Benjamin Meed
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 18:21:54
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