Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research

Login

Register

Help

Skip to main content

Pair of leather boots given to a US liberator by a concentration camp inmate

Object | Accession Number: 2014.479.1 a-b

Search this record's additional resources, such as finding aids, documents, or transcripts.

No results match this search term.
Check spelling and try again.

results are loading

0 results found for “keyward

    Pair of leather boots given to a US liberator by a concentration camp inmate

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Leather boots given to Captain James Keegan, US Army, by a prisoner whom he befriended following the liberation of Landsberg concentration camp in Germany. The inmate made the boots while a shoemaker at the camp. He explained how he had used matchsticks to attach the soles because there were few nails. 2nd Lt. Keegan, 411th Regiment, 103rd Infantry Division, deployed to France in fall 1944 and was a front line officer throughout the war. On April 27, 1945, James's company was one of the first to reach and liberate Landsberg, a Dachau subcamp. His unit was assigned to provide aid to the inmates and stabilize camp conditions. James was awarded several medals for his service, including two Bronze Stars for heroic merit. James rarely spoke about the war, but he would often talk about his friend from Landsberg, and treasured the boots he had been given.
    Date
    received:  approximately 1945 April 27
    Geography
    creation: Landsberg (Concentration camp); Landsberg am Lech (Germany)
    received: Landsberg (Concentration camp); Landsberg am Lech (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of James B. Keegan, Jr., in memory of his father, Cpt. James B. Keegan
    Markings
    a. heel, underside, embossed : * C.C. & G.P. Co H* / CONTINENTAL / 167 / 167
    a. interior, upper shaft, stamped, black ink : ?
    b. heel, underside, embossed : * C.C. & G.P. Co H* / CONTINENTAL / 167 / 167
    b. interior, upper shaft, stamped, black ink : Franz Deibler / ? / ?bauleh Schwb.
    Contributor
    Subject: James B. Keegan
    Biography
    James Bennett Keegan was born on November 28, 1915, in Forestville, California, to James W. and Effie Bennett Keegan. James had one younger brother, John Edward, born in 1917. In the early 1910s, James W. and Effie married and settled in Forestville, where they had a farm. In the 1920s, the family moved to Analy Township, near Sebastopol. In 1932, James graduated from high school and became a bank teller. James married Edith Newman (1916-1998) and they settled in Santa Rosa.

    Following the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States entered World War II. On August 31, 1942, James enlisted in the US Army. In early 1943, he attended Infantry Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia. On April 30, following the completion of the course, James was honorably discharged as a Corporal and reenlisted as a Second Lieutenant. He was assigned to the 411th Regiment, 103rd Infantry Division, nicknamed the Cactus Division. In October 1944, the 103rd Infantry was deployed to Europe and landed in Marseilles, France, as part of the Seventh Army. James was a front line officer for the duraton of the war. During the Battle of the Bulge, the Division defended Allied positions near Sarreguemines. Reichshofen, and Soufflenheim. In mid-March 1945, the Division crossed into Germany, pushing toward the Rhine valley. On April 27, James participated in the liberation of Landsberg concentration camp, a Dachau subcamp. His company remained in Landsberg when the rest of the Division advanced toward Austria. They provided medical services, cared for the inmates, and improved conditions in the camp. While there, James gave an inmate a pack of cigarettes and they became friends, although they did not share a language. The inmate had worked as a cobbler at the camp and gave James a pair of leather boots he had made as a sign of friendship.

    Following Germany’s surrender on May 7, 1945, James was assigned to the occupation force in Innsbruck, Austria. James, now a Captain, returned to the US in early 1946 and was discharged in May. He was awarded many medals for his service, including two Bronze Stars for heroic merit and two purple hearts. James returned to Santa Rosa and resumed his career at Wells Fargo Bank. James and Edith had one son. James later joined the Army Reserves. He did not like to speak about his wartime experiences, but he would often talk about the inmate he had befriended at Landsberg, and treasured the boots he had been given. James, 78, died on June 28, 1994.

    Physical Details

    Classification
    Dress Accessories
    Category
    Footwear
    Object Type
    Boots (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    a. Worn, brown leather, midcalf, left boot with a rounded toe cap and an open tab upper stitched over the vamp, with double stitching along the quarter. The front has 6 sets of metal eyelets and 11 sets of hooks, all painted brown, to thread laces. The tongue is sewn to the bottom tabs of the upper and to the vamp. The back quarter and collar are reinforced with leather. The light brown painted sole is attached with wooden matchsticks. The stacked leather heel has a thick, black rubber base, likely a replacement, and hobnailed to the light brown painted sole. The boot is creased, stained, and scuffed.
    b. Very worn, brown leather, midcalf, right boot with a rounded toe cap and an open tab upper stitched over the vamp, with double stitching along the quarter. The front has 6 sets of eyelets and 11 sets of hooks, all painted brown, to thread laces. The tongue is sewn to the bottom tabs of the upper and to the vamp. The back quarter and collar are reinforced with leather. The light brown painted sole is attached with matchsticks. The stacked leather heel has a thick, black rubber base, likely a replacement, and hobnailed to the light brown painted sole. The boot is very creased, stained, and scuffed.
    Dimensions
    a: Height: 14.125 inches (35.878 cm) | Width: 4.250 inches (10.795 cm) | Depth: 11.375 inches (28.893 cm)
    b: Height: 14.000 inches (35.56 cm) | Width: 4.125 inches (10.478 cm) | Depth: 11.250 inches (28.575 cm)
    Materials
    a : leather, wood, rubber, metal, paint, ink
    b : leather, wood, rubber, metal, paint, ink

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The boots were donated the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2014 by James B. Keegan, Jr., the son of James B. Keegan.
    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:
    2023-08-25 17:04:50
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn85711

    Download & Licensing

    In-Person Research

    Contact Us