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Engraved silver cup given to Erwin Rösener by Heinrich Himmler

Object | Accession Number: 2014.198.1

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    Brief Narrative
    Silver cup engraved with the names of Erwin Rösener and Heinrich Himmler and SS bolts, manufactured by the A. Frisch firm in Oslo, Norway. Rösener joined the SA in 1926, and was accepted into the SS in 1930. He quickly advanced through the ranks, and was promoted nine times between 1930 and 1944. Rösener attained the rank of Gruppenführer (Major General) on November 9, 1941, and his final rank of Obergruppenführer (Lieutenant General) on August 1, 1944. On December 16, 1941, he was assigned to be the Higher SS and Police Leader for Upper Section Alpenland, which was located in southern Austria and bordered Axis-occupied territory of Slovenia in northern Yugoslavia. Rösener reported directly to Himmler, and part of his responsibilities included fighting the incursions of local Yugoslav partisans, which spilled over into Alpenland in February and March of 1943. From October 1944 until the end of the war, he was the head of anti-Partisan warfare in Ljubljana, Slovenia. While in Slovenia, Rösener ordered the execution of civilians, hostages, and prisoners-of-war. Following the end of the war in May 1945, Rösener escaped to Austria, where he was captured by British forces. He was extradited back to Slovenia, where he was put on trial for war crimes. Himmler was captured by Soviet soldiers on May 20, and committed suicide on May 23, 1945. Rösener was sentenced to death on August 30, 1946 and executed on September 4.
    commemoration:  1943 February 18
    manufacture: Oslo (Norway)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Charles Koteen and Lisa Koteen Gerchick
    base, engraved : A. FRISCH 83OS
    Subject: Erwin Rösener
    Subject: Heinrich Himmler
    Manufacturer: A. Frisch
    Erwin Friedrich Karl Rösener (1902-1946) was born in Schwerte, Germany. He joined the Nazi’s paramilitary group, the Sturmabteilung (SA, also called Stormtroopers) on November 6, 1926, and was accepted into the Schutzstaffel (SS) in 1930. Originally, the SS was designed as a security force for protecting Adolf Hitler and Nazi members attending Party meetings, and subordinated to the leadership of the larger SA. The group transformed into a large, lethal, well-organized paramilitary unit after Heinrich Himmler (1900-1945) became Reichsführer SS (head of the SS) in 1929. Between 1930 and 1944, Rösener was promoted numerous times, ending with the rank of SS-Obergruppenführer (Lieutenant General) and General of the Waffen-SS and Police.

    The Axis invasion and partition of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (comprised of the provisional states of Slovenia, Croatia, and Serbia) on April 6, 1941, led Germany to annex northern Slovenia. Southern and eastern Slovenia were occupied by Italy. On November 9, 1941, Rösener was promoted to SS-Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Polizei (SS Group Leader and Lieutenant General of the Police). On December 16, he was assigned to be the Führer des SS-Oberabschnitts Alpenland (Higher SS and Police Leader for SS-Upper Section Alpenland), headquartered in Salzburg, and reported directly to Heinrich Himmler. Alpenland included the Austrian districts of Carinthia, Styria, and Tyrol, which bordered, but were later occupied by Germany when Italy surrendered to the Allies on September 8, 1943.

    One of Rösener’s responsibilities was to fight the incursions of local partisans in northern Yugoslavia, which spilled over into Alpenland in February and March of 1943. Rösener deployed troops in May to suppress the partisans, and on September 24, 1943, he ordered the formation of the pro-Nazi Domobranci (Slovenian Home Guard). From October 1944 until the end of the war in May 1945, he was the head of anti-Partisan warfare in Ljubljana, Slovenia. While in Slovenia, Rösener was responsible for the execution of civilians, hostages, and prisoners-of-war. Following the end of the war, Rösener escaped to Austria, where he was captured by British forces. He was extradited back to Slovenia, where he was put on trial for war crimes. He was sentenced to death on August 30, 1946 and executed on September 4, 1946. Rösener was posthumously named on the Count Three (War Crimes) at the Nuremberg Trials.
    Heinrich Himmler was born on October 7, 1900 in Munich, Germany to a conservative Catholic family. He served as an officer cadet in the Eleventh Bavarian Regiment at the end of World War I, though the war ended before he graduated. He studied agriculture at the Technical University in Munich, graduating in August 1922. In August 1923, he joined the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazi Party), and shortly after, marched with other Nazi leaders in the Beer Hall Putsch as an attempt to overthrow the German government. On January 6, 1929, Himmler was appointed Reichsführer of the SS. He immediately began expanding the SS, which reached a membership of more than 50,000 by 1933. In April 1934, Himmler was appointed assistant chief of the Gestapo. He masterminded the Night of the Long Knives, the purge of Adolf Hitler’s rival Nazi leaders on June 30, 1934. Under Himmler, the SS acquired vast police powers in Germany and the territories it occupied, and gained primary responsibilities in the areas of security, intelligence gathering, and espionage. Himmler oversaw the deployment of the Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units) in the massacre of Jews and other victims during the early war years. He also organized the extermination camps in German-occupied Poland where millions of Jews were murdered. In April 1945, Himmler transmitted an offer of German surrender to the Allies. When Hitler learned of the offer, he stripped Himmler of his authority and ordered his arrest. After the German surrender on May 7, Himmler was captured by Soviet soldiers on May 20. On May 23, 1945, Heinrich Himmler committed suicide at age 44.
    Anthonius Frisch (1826-1916) founded his silversmith firm in 1856 in Christiania, Norway (which was returned to its original name of Oslo in 1925). After his death, Anthonius’s son, Anton (1865-1928) became managing director. Anton’s son, Ragnar Frisch (1895-1973), apprenticed with a well-known Oslo jewelry firm, David Anderson, and completed his handicraftsman’s probation work as a goldsmith. However, instead of entering the family business, Ragnar earned a Ph.D. in economics and became a university professor and Director of Research of the Economic Institute at Oslo University. After Anton’s death in 1928, Ragnar took over ownership and spent a year modernizing and recapitalizing the firm. He also hired Ludvig Wittmann (1877-?), a newly licensed jeweler, to manage the business for him. Wittmann was born in Munich, Germany, and spent two years in his 20s, working for a goldsmith in Trondheim, Norway. He continued his education in Munich for seven years before returning to Norway to work as a draftsman for the David Anderson firm. In 1915, he was compelled to return to Germany for military service, but resumed his position in Norway after the end of World War I in 1918.

    On April 8–9, 1940, Nazi Germany invaded Norway. The Norwegian military resisted until June 10, when the Norwegian king and government fled to London. Germany set up their own administration, but periodically used the fascist leader and Nazi collaborator, Vidkun Quisling, as a figurehead. Authorities began arresting Norwegian Jews in the fall of 1942, and began deportations to Auschwitz-Birkenau killing center in late November. They also arrested other dissidents and intellectuals, and Ragnar Frisch was one of 10 professors at the University of Oslo arrested and imprisoned in Bredtveit concentration camp on October 17, 1943. He was then transferred to Berg concentration camp on November 22. He was moved again to Grini detention camp on December 9, and remained there until October 8, 1944. Germany surrendered to the Allies in Norway on May 8, 1945. After the war, Ludvig Wittmann served as managing director for A. Frisch until 1945, and his craft certificate was revoked in 1950. Ragnar continued his work in economics, and won the Antonio Feltrinelli prize in 1961 and the Nobel Prize in economics in 1969.

    Physical Details

    Metal containers
    Physical Description
    Cylindrical silver cup with several lines of engraved text on the front. The cup flares slightly at the top and has a rolled rim. To the left of the inscription, a vertical seam runs the length of the cup. The bottom tapers to a circular base with a foot ring. On the base are a purity hallmark and a manufacturing mark that was misstamped and re-stamped over. The cup is significantly tarnished around the inside of the foot ring and along the seam, and has patches of lighter tarnishing across the entire surface
    overall: Height: 4.750 inches (12.065 cm) | Diameter: 3.125 inches (7.938 cm)
    overall : silver
    center, engraved : SS - GRUPPENFÜHRER / ERWIN RÖSENER / ZUM 18.2.1943 / H. Himmler / REICHSFÜHRER – SS [SS - GROUP LEADER / ERWIN RÖSENER / ON February 18, 1943 / Heinrich Himmler / REICHS LEADER – SS]

    Rights & Restrictions

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    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The engraved cup was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2014 by Charles Koteen and Lisa Koteen Gerchick.
    Record last modified:
    2024-01-16 07:39:56
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