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Concentration camp uniform pants with red triangle patch worn by Polish Jewish inmate

Object | Accession Number: 1994.55.3

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    Concentration camp uniform pants with red triangle patch worn by Polish Jewish inmate

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    Brief Narrative
    Striped concentration camp uniform trousers worn by Edmund Graf while imprisoned at Flossenbürg and Altenhammer concentration camps from August 4, 1944 to April 23, 1945. The white cloth patch with his prisoner number P 14811, and an inverted, red triangle, identifying him as a political prisoner was given to him by a friend who worked in the camp’s tailor shop. Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. In 1940, Edmund fled to Soviet occupied Lwow, but returned home after Germany invaded in June 1941. In December, he was sent to Pustkow slave labor camp. He was then transported to Mielec and Wieliczka slave labor camps and Flossenbürg and Altenhammer concentration camps, where he worked in airplane factories. On April 23, 1945 Edmund was liberated from Altenhammer by the US Army. Later, Edmund learned that his brother went to Palestine illegally in 1946 or 1947. The rest of Edmund’s family perished.
    use:  approximately 1944 August-approximately 1945 April
    issue: Flossenbürg (Concentration camp); Flossenbürg (Germany)
    use: Altenhammer (Concentration camp); Altenhammer (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Edmund Graf
    subject: Edmund Graf
    Edmund Graf was born on August 12, 1919, in Lwow, Poland, (Lviv, Ukraine), to a Jewish couple. Edmund’s brother was born in 1914. In 1921, Edmund’s father was killed by Ukrainians. Not long after, Edmund’s mother took him and his brother to live with her parents in Dabrowa, Poland. As an adult, Edmund worked as an electrician.
    In September 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland. Germany occupied regions west of the Bug River, the Soviet Union occupied those to the east. In October, Edmund was selected for forced labor and transported Dabrowa Tarnowska. In 1940, Edmund fled to Soviet occupied Lwow, where life was not as restricted for Jews. In June 1941, Germany occupied Lwow. Edmund began working for a company that produced mechanical equipment. One of the company’s German administrators learned that Edmund had the same surname as he did and threatened to kill Edmund. Edmund went back to Dabrowa. In December 1941, Edmund was taken to Pustkow labor camp, where he was a slave laborer alongside Soviet prisoners of war. In May 1942, he was sent to Mielec, a subcamp of Krakau-Płaszów slave labor camp, where he was a mechanic at the Ernst Heinkel Airplane factory. In January 1944, Krakau-Płaszów became a concentration camp with several official subcamps. On July 22, as the Soviet Army advanced on the region, Edmund was transported to Wieliczka, a subcamp of Krakau-Płaszów. Airplane production had been moved to the old, underground salt mine near this camp. Several days later, Edmund was deported to Flossenbürg concentration camp in Germany. He was issued prisoner number 14811 and a striped camp uniform. Edmund was assigned to the stitch detachment, as slave labor for the factories that built Messerschmitt 109, 110, and 111 fighter jets. The detachment was housed at Flossenbürg, but marched to nearby Altenhammer subcamp each day to work at the airplane factories. On April 8, 1945, Edmund was transferred to onsite barracks at Altenhammer. On April 23, he was liberated by US soldiers. Many civilians brought the former prisoners food, including potatoes, which kept Edmund alive.
    On May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered. Edmund made his way to Auerbach and then settled in Hamburg. He contacted an uncle in Argentina, who was able to write to people in Dabrowa. All of Edmund’s relatives, except his brother, had been killed during the Holocaust. His brother had fought in a Polish division in the British Army during the war. In 1946 or 1947, he sailed to Palestine illegally aboard the ship Samaria and fought for Israeli Independence. In August 1950, Edmund boarded USNS General W.H. Haan and went to the United States. Edmund married a fellow Holocaust survivor, Malvina Kleinberger. Malvina was born on December 19, 1922, in Krakow, Poland, to Jacob and Leontyna Geiger Kleinberger. She had 7 siblings: Balbina, Sabina, Maria, Henryk, Szymon, Helena, and a sister who died pre-war. In September 1939, Malvina fled to Soviet occupied Lvov, but later returned to Krakow ghetto. In January 1943, she was interned at Krakau-Płaszów slave labor camp, and then at Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, and Burgau concentration camps. In April 1945, Malvina was marched from Burgau, a Dachau subcamp, to Allach, where she was liberated by US soldiers. In December 1947, Malvina and her surviving siblings, Balbina Sabina, and Maria went to the US. Henryk and his wife came over a few years later. Edmund and Malvina settled in Brooklyn and had three daughters. Malvina, 84, died on November 26, 2007. Edmund, 93, died on August 18, 2012.

    Physical Details

    Clothing and Dress
    Object Type
    Pants (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Blue and gray vertically striped, heavyweight cotton pants with 1.5 inch cuffs, a waist button closure and a concealed three button fly. The four metal buttons are similar but not alike: 2 are silver colored and 2 are gray and are sewn with different colored thread. The buttonholes are finished and stretched. The right fly is lined with olive green cotton and the left fly has an unhemmed, frayed striped cloth placket with gray cloth lining between the layers. There are 6 unevenly spaced striped cloth belt loops, 2 each in the front and back and 2 near the sides. Each side has a slit pocket with finished lip and olive green cotton pouches. The waistband is lined with the olive green cloth and the number, 52, is hand stencilled in black ink right of center. Below the lining is a worn, white cloth hanging loop. The neatly folded cuffs are held in place by the hand stitching used to attach the shiny gray rayon binding along the hem. The interior seams are unfinished and frayed. A 4 in. rectangular discolored white cotton patch with a black painted uppercase P over a faded, inverted, red triangle, and a stamped prisoner number 14811 is machine sewn with black thread across the outer seam on the upper right thigh. On the right leg are several fine black lines across the stripes; these are encrustations probably of tar.
    overall: Height: 28.750 inches (73.025 cm) | Width: 16.000 inches (40.64 cm)
    overall : cotton, cloth, metal, thread, paint
    front, right thigh, patch, stamped, black paint : P 14811
    back, interior waistband, paoint : 52

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The concentration camp uniform trousers were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1994 by Edmund Graf.
    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:
    2022-07-28 18:22:27
    This page:

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