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Waffen SS red fez acquired by a US soldier in Germany

Object | Accession Number: 1994.101.1

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    Waffen SS red fez acquired by a US soldier in Germany

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    Brief Narrative
    Red fez with a swastika and Death's head found by Kurt Weiler, a US army soldier, in Germany in 1945. The red fez was part of the dress uniform of a Waffen-SS military detachment composed of Muslims from Bosnia, Croatia, and Herzegovina in occupied Yugoslavia. There was a field gray one for combat. The creation of this unit was authorized by Hitler in 1943. The original purpose was to combat Tito’s partisans. Through recruitment and conscription, the unit had 26,000 soldiers within a few months. The group was commanded by German or ethnic German officers, and the uniforms were designed to reflect the religion/ethnicity of the recruits.
    received:  1945
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Wallis Weiler Cady
    Subject: Kurt Weiler
    Kurt Weiler was born in 1917 to Jewish parents, Julia and Louis Weiler. Kurt had a brother who died before 1939 and two sisters. He was living in Wuppertal Eberwert, Germany, when he departed for the United States in 1936. Louis was hidden in nursing homes where he died of a heart attack. Julia was hidden by the underground. After Louis’s death, she was smuggled through Lisbon, Portugal, to the United States. Kurt had married an American. He was drafted into the US Army and served in the infantry in Africa and southern France during World War II. At one point, he was paired with a Polish female agent in order to spy behind German lines. One of his sisters emigrated to the United States where she died in the 1940s. His other sister died in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. Kurt died in 1984, age 67.

    Physical Details

    Dress Accessories
    Object Type
    Fezes (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Red fez with German Nazi National Insignia sewn on front below a skull and cross bones patch.
    overall: Height: 4.250 inches (10.795 cm) | Width: 7.500 inches (19.05 cm)
    overall : wool, nylon, wood, plastic, cotton

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The fez was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1994 by Wallis Weiler Cady, Clifford Weiler, Jeffry Weiler, and the Estate of Kurt Weiler.
    Record last modified:
    2024-05-10 14:11:58
    This page:

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