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Polish Order Wojenny Virtuti Militari Silver Cross medal and box awarded posthumously to a Polish Jewish soldier

Object | Accession Number: 2013.438.2 a-b

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    Brief Narrative
    Polish Order Wojenny Virtuti Militari (War Order of Military Virtue) Silver Cross medal, 5th class, awarded posthumously to 21 year old Corporal Michal Goldin, a Polish soldier who died in combat in Normandy, France not long after D-Day in 1944. The medal was issued on December 7, 1944, by the Polish government in exile in England. Michal was a high school student in Antwerp, Belgium, when Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Separated from his family in Warsaw, he went to France and enlisted in the Polish Army. France surrendered in June 1940 and Michal’s unit retreated to Switzerland, where they were interned. In 1943, Michal escaped from Switzerland to Great Britain, where he rejoined the Polish Army. In June 1944, Michal participated in the Allied invasion of Normandy. On August 19, 1944, Michal volunteered to rescue an ambulance of wounded soldiers near Falaise and was killed.
    commemoration:  1944 August 19
    issue:  1944 December 07
    manufacture: London (England)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Mark and Paul Weinberg
    a. front, cross arms, black paint : VIR / TUTI / MILI / TARI [Military Virtue]
    a. back, center, embossed : HONOR / I / OJCZYZNA / 1792 [Honor and Country]
    b. interior, lid, center, stamped, black ink : TO H.M. THE KING. / SPINK & SON Ltd / 5, 6 & 7. KING STREET. / ST. JAMES’S. / LONDON. S.W.1. / EST. 1772
    Subject: Michal Goldin
    Manufacturer: Spink & Son Ltd.
    Issuer: Poland. Ministerstwo Obrony Narodowej
    Michal Goldin was born on August 30, 1922, in Warsaw, Poland, to a Jewish couple, Jacob and Rosa Ruth Mirski Goldin. He had one sister, Isabelle, who was born on April 24, 1925, in Warsaw. His father Jacob was born on February 16, 1889, in Slonim (Slonim, Belarus) and was an industrialist. His mother Rosa was born on September 18, 1901, in Warsaw. Michal attended high school in Heide Antwerp, Belgium.

    On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. Michal was cut off from his family in Warsaw and enlisted in the Polish Army in exile in France. He fought in France following the German invasion in May 1940. As German troops advanced through France in June, his unit retreated across the border to Switzerland, where they were interned in camps. Michal attended the University of Fribourg and received an undergraduate law degree. In 1943, he escaped from Switzerland to Great Britain, where he rejoined the Polish Army and was assigned to a unit in Scotland. He attended the University of St. Andrews and received a master’s degree in economics. In June 1944, his unit was shipped to France and he participated in the invasion of Normandy. He served as a corporal. On August 19, 1944, 21 year old Michal was killed near Falaise while trying to evacuate an ambulance of wounded soldiers. He was posthumously awarded a Virtuti Militari Silver Cross medal. His father, mother, and sister escaped from Poland to South Africa and emigrated to the United States in 1946.

    Physical Details

    Latin Polish English
    Military Insignia
    Object Type
    Medals, Polish (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    a. Silver colored metal cross pattee medal with ball finials and black painted borders and Latin text on each arm. Over the center is circular badge, painted gold, with a green enamel wreath border and a white and gold Polish eagle. On the reverse, the arms have a black painted border and the gold painted center has a green enamel wreath border and embossed Polish text. The top arm has an extension loop with 2 attached suspension rings. A striped ribbon, narrow blue, black, wide blue, black, narrow blue, is looped through the top ring and sewn at the top. A safety pin is sewn to the back with black thread.
    b. Rectangular cardboard box covered with brown textured plastic, called leatherette, with a hinged lid and stamped lines around the edges. On the base is a brass colored metal release button to open the box. The lid is padded and lined with shiny white cloth, which also covers the hinge. The Royal Arms of England is stamped on the lid, with text below. The base has a white cloth covered cardboard liner with an insert fitted for the medal, covered with black velvety cloth. The leatherette is worn on the corners.
    a: Height: 3.875 inches (9.843 cm) | Width: 1.500 inches (3.81 cm) | Depth: 0.125 inches (0.318 cm)
    b: Height: 5.000 inches (12.7 cm) | Width: 2.625 inches (6.668 cm) | Depth: 0.750 inches (1.905 cm)
    a : metal, ribbon, enamel paint
    b : cardboard, plastic, cloth, metal, adhesive

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The medal and box were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2013 by Mark and Paul Weinberg, the nephews of Michal Goldin.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2022-08-18 09:24:59
    This page:

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