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British Army paratrooper's jacket worn in combat by a German Jewish refugee

Object | Accession Number: 2012.478.2

British Airborne paratrooper's Denison jacket with a camouflage pattern worn by 22 year old Manfred Gans, a Jewish refugee from Germany, while serving as a Marine Commando for the British Army from May 1944 to May 1945. The Denison smock was designed with an adjustable tail flap, and worn over standard battle dress to keep gear secured when a paratrooper deployed his parachute. Manfred was recruited for his language skills and served as a member of a Special Forces troop composed of fluent German speaking refugees. Each man in the unit was assigned a British alias: Manfred's was Fred Gray. In January 1933, Adolf Hitler became the chancellor of Germany and implemented anti-Jewish laws. In July 1938, Manfred went to England. On September 3, 1939, Great Britain declared war against Germany, and Manfred was classified as an enemy alien. In spring 1940, Germany invaded Western Europe. Manfred was arrested and sent to an internment camp on the Isle of Man. Manfred enlisted in the British Army, where he spent two years assigned to a labor unit. At the end of 1942, he was recruited for a Special Forces troop. On June 6, 1944, he participated in the invasion of Normandy. It was his mission to go out on every patrol and troop action and infiltrate German positions to convince soldiers to surrender, and to interrogate prisoners and gather intelligence as his unit advanced through France, Belgium, and northern Germany. Manfred learned from an American uncle that his parents had been imprisoned in Theresienstadt labor camp-ghetto in German occupied Czechoslovakia. In early May 1945, he drove across Germany, through enemy lines, to find his parents. He was reunited with them in Theresienstadt on May 11. His parents returned to the Netherlands in July. Manfred was demobilized in August 1945. He married Anita Lamm in 1948. She had fled Germany with her parents in 1938, assisted by Manfred's parents. He joined her in the US in 1950.

Date
1944  (manufacture)
1944-1945  (use)
Geography
manufacture : Great Britain
Language
English
Classification
Clothing and Dress
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Daniel Gans and Aviva Gans-Rosenberg
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Record last modified: 2018-01-11 14:22:34
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn84572