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Kingmark gold, red, and white enamel pin on a buttonhole back commemorating the 70th birthday in 1940 of King Christian X of Denmark

Object | Accession Number: 2018.497.2

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    Kingmark gold, red, and white enamel pin on a buttonhole back commemorating the 70th birthday in 1940 of King Christian X of Denmark

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Commemorative 14 karat gold and red enamel women's emblem pin issued by the Georg Jensen Company to honor the 75th birthday of King Christian X of Denmark on August 21, 1945. Designed by Arno Malinowski, the pin features the King’s initials, the years 1870-1945, and the Danish flag. The German army occupied Denmark on April 9, 1940. Christian remained in Copenhagen and the emblem pin, popularly known as the Kingmark, became a popular symbol of Danish independence, patriotism, and solidarity against occupation. Germany permitted the democratic government to retain control over domestic affairs until August 1943, when the growing resistance movement led Germany to institute martial law. Denmark was liberated by British forces on May 5, 1945. Following Denmark’s liberation, Britain’s Field Marshal Montgomery was gifted a gold Kingmark, which he wore on his uniform at various occasions. A second pin was issued for Christian’s 75th birthday in 1945. Over 1 million were produced until his death in 1947, only 10 percent of which were in gold. Production ceased at the request of his son, King Frederick IX.
    Date
    commemoration:  1945 September 26
    Geography
    creation: Copenhagen (Denmark)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Jordan, Lorraine, and Rachel Cherrick in memory of Hedwig Kudesch and Robert Briscoe.
    Markings
    front, center, engraved : X partially encircled by C
    front, lower left, engraved : 1870
    front, lower right, engraved : 1940
    reverse, lower right, Georg Jensen maker’s mark, engraved : G within J in a square
    reverse, lower left, engraved: 585
    Contributor
    Manufacturer: Georg Jensen
    Designer: Arno Malinowski
    Robert E. Briscoe
    Biography
    Robert Briscoe (1894-1969) was born in Dublin, Ireland, to Jewish parents Abraham (1860-1917) and Ida (nee Joedicke, 1873-1930) Briscoe. Born in Russia, Abraham immigrated to Ireland in 1866. He met Ida while on a trip to Frankfurt, Germany. The couple had six other children: Rachel (later Isaacs, 1891-1985), Arthur (1893-1952), Herbert David (1896-1980), Wolfe Tone (1900-1977), Judith (1902-1990), and Henrietta (1905-1993). Abraham was a successful businessman and the owner of an import-export company that provided the family with a comfortable lifestyle. Abraham was Orthodox and emphasized Jewish customs and laws, including eating kosher. Robert finished his schooling in 1912, and traveled with his brother, Herbert, to Berlin, where their father set up apprenticeships, and where their aunt Hedwig lived.

    In August 1914, Britain and Germany entered World War I on opposing sides, and Robert, who was living in Germany as a British citizen, became an enemy alien. Afraid of internment, he and hundreds of other British citizens sought protection at the United States Embassy. The ambassador issued them American passports, and Robert traveled to Austria, where his parents were visiting. After signing an agreement that he would not fight against the Central Powers, Robert was permitted to return to Ireland. To escape the war, that December he sailed to New York City, where he established a successful business career.

    Robert returned to Ireland in August 1917, and joined the Irish Republican Army (IRA), an underground paramilitary group that aspired for an armed revolution against British rule. He worked largely in the acquisition and distribution of arms and ammunition. In 1919, he married Lily Isaacs (1895-1990), the daughter of a family friend. Following the Irish War of Independence, the Anglo-Irish Treaty created an Irish Free State that was self-governing, but still within the British Empire. The territory of Northern Ireland opposed home-rule and elected to remain within the United Kingdom. Shortly thereafter, the Irish Civil War broke out, splitting the IRA into the pro-treaty Provisional Government and the anti-treaty IRA hardliners. Though the war officially ended in 1923, it resulted in a legacy of bitter and contentious relations between the resulting two large political parties. Throughout the 1920s, Robert served as an emissary and arms procurer for the IRA in Berlin, Dublin, and New York City. In 1927, he was elected to a seat in the lower house of the Irish legislature and became Ireland’s only Jewish politician.

    Early on in his political career, Robert saw a rise in antisemitic rhetoric and public sentiment. His concerns grew in 1930, when the prominence of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party increased in Germany. Antisemitism was growing in Europe, and Ireland enacted isolationist legislation that would make immigration criteria more difficult. After Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany in January 1933, Jews began petitioning Robert for Irish visas to escape Germany. From 1935-1939, he received hundreds of letters asking for assistance, and worked aggressively as an advocate for German Jewish immigration despite Ireland’s increasingly antisemitic, isolationist policies.

    Due to the strict, nationalist, Irish policies, Robert turned to the Zionist movement for help for an activism outlet. In December 1937, he met with the leaders of the New Zionist Organization (NZO), a revisionist faction that fought for an immediate mass-immigration of Jews to British-controlled Palestine. Following World War I, Great Britain had administrative authority over Palestine, and publicly supported the establishment of a Jewish state. However, 1936 riots by the local Arab population prompted an evaluation of policies, and a Royal Commission concluded that the best option would be to partition Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states and to limit annual Jewish immigration to help stabilize the burgeoning economy. The NZO believed that anything less than a mass immigration of Jews and relocation of the local Arab population would lead to the decimation of the Jewish community. Robert likened the partitioning of Palestine to the divisions in Ireland he had fought against with the IRA, and strongly agreed with the NZO.

    In January 1938, Robert received the first of a series of letters from his aunt Hedwig in Berlin, begging for assistance to get her and her daughter out of Germany. Despite the family connection, he could not break through the Irish bureaucracy, and continued to fight his government’s attitudes towards Jewish immigration. After the Kristallnacht pogrom of November 1938, the Dublin Jewish community appealed to Robert to secure visas for 130 Jewish children fleeing Berlin, but he was not able to follow through. That December, he traveled to Warsaw on behalf of the NZO to help facilitate emigration of Jews to Palestine, but was ultimately unsuccessful. In January 1939, he went to the United States as the lead of a revisionist delegation, but was not able to make inroads with American bureaucrats. Rather than returning home as expected, he attempted to recruit revisionists in America before returning to Dublin in August.

    From October 1939 to the following spring, Robert led a mission to a Zionist community in South Africa to secure financial support for the Mercaz L’Aliyah (Centre for Immigration) and promote the revisionist emigration plan to Palestine. The funds he raised went to purchasing boats for the illicit immigration of Jews to Palestine (Aliyah Bet). Between September 1939 and March 1941, those ships took 13 voyages, and transported 10,628 refugees to Palestine.

    In the summer of 1940, militarism and internal divisions in the NZO began to amplify, and Robert scaled back his involvement. He officially resigned from the organization’s leadership on April 1, 1943, severing his revisionist ties. After the war ended in May 1945, Robert continued to support Zionist efforts and the new state of Israel, which was established in May 1948. Eventually, he learned that over 150 members of his extended family had died during the Holocaust, including his aunt Hedwig, who was killed at Auschwitz. He had a resurgence of political popularity at home, and in 1956, he was elected as Dublin’s first Jewish Lord Mayor.

    Physical Details

    Classification
    Jewelry
    Category
    Pins (Jewelry)
    Object Type
    Lapel pins (aat)
    Genre/Form
    Jewelry.
    Physical Description
    Cast 14-karat gold, rectangular pin soldered to a crescent shaped buttonhole backing. In the center is a gold shield with an engraved X inside an engraved C, over a gold-outlined white enamel cross with red enamel paint at the corners to represent the Danish flag. In the lower corner are casts of the dates 1870 and 1940. A cast of the Danish royal crown is attached to the top of the pin. On the reverse is a Georg Jensen maker’s mark and a gold hallmark.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 1.000 inches (2.54 cm) | Width: 0.500 inches (1.27 cm) | Depth: 0.250 inches (0.635 cm)
    Materials
    overall : gold, enamel

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    Copenhagen (Denmark)

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The Christian X commemorative pin was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2018 by Jordan, Lorraine, and Rachel Cherrick in memory of Hedwig Kudesch and Robert Briscoe.
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-29 13:12:06
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn634320

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