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Nazi Party Labor Day pin given to a US soldier by Hermann Göring

Object | Accession Number: 2014.309.1

Nazi Party Labor Day 1934 pin, likely given to Lieutenant Jack Wheelis by Herman Göring during his imprisonment at Nuremberg from 1945-1946. Labor Day (also known as May Day) takes place on May 1 to celebrate laborers and the working classes. In April 1933, after the Nazi party took control of the German government, May 1 was appropriated as the “Day of National Work,” with all celebrations organized by the government. On May 2, the Nazi party banned all independent trade-unions, bringing them under state control of the German Labor Front. Soon after the defeat of Nazi Germany in May 1945, Göring was arrested by American troops. Göring became the highest-ranking of the 22 defendants of the Nuremberg Trial of Major German War Criminals. While imprisoned at Nuremberg, Göring met Wheelis, an American soldier assigned to the 6850th Internal Security Detachment (ISD) on November 26, 1945. The ISD was responsible for guarding the Nazi prisoners, and escorting them to and from the courtroom. Each prisoner was under constant observation, with a guard stationed facing each cell door, and guards freely conversed with the prisoners. Wheelis often engaged in conversation with Göring, and was one of multiple guards that Göring gifted personal items to. The verdicts were delivered on October 1, 1946, and 12 defendants, including Göring, were sentenced to death. The night before his scheduled execution, Göring committed suicide by swallowing a cyanide capsule. Several theories arose about how Göring obtained the capsule while imprisoned, one of which suggested that Wheelis helped him retrieve it from the Nazi’s stored belongings. None of the theories have been proven.

commemoration:  1934
received:  after 1945 November 26-before 1946 October 15
acquired: Nuremberg (Germany)
Identifying Artifacts
Object Type
Lapel pins (aat)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Peter B. Goldman
Record last modified: 2022-04-28 15:33:10
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