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Pressed aluminum cap badge with Nazi insignia acquired by a German Jewish refugee and US soldier

Object | Accession Number: 2012.337.4

SS cap badge with an eagle and oak wreath owned by Hans Hirschfeld, who left Germany at age twenty in 1939 for the US and later served in the US Army. From 1936 to 1945, this type of cap badge was worn by the SS-Ordnungspolizei, or order police, the regular uniformed police force in Germany, which included municipal and rural police, firemen, and the coast guard. When Hitler came to power in January 1933, Hans and his parents, Alfred and Maria, lived in Breslau, Germany, where Alfred was Director of the Chamber of Commerce. Maria was Protestant and Alfred was Jewish and Hans identified himself as Jewish. Under the Nazi government, Jews were persecuted and increasingly banned from areas of German society. In December 1937, Hans was fired from his job because he was Jewish. He lost another job six months later when the Jewish firm where he worked was Aryanized. He spent a year obtaining the permits needed to leave Germany and emigrated to Havana, Cuba, in March 1939, and then to Louisiana that October where he had a paternal aunt. He was drafted into the US Army in 1941 and served as a translator and interrogator of German prisoners of war in the US. Because Maria was not Jewish, she and Alfred were able to stay in Breslau, although they were placed in a local internment camp for several months. Alfred and Maria left Germany for America in 1947.

issue:  1936-1945
emigration:  1939 March
issue: Germany
Military Insignia
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Karen Hirschfeld Hendley
Record last modified: 2023-08-31 10:44:52
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