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Small heating device made from a cigarette tin for a Jewish British Army medic by fellow inmates

Object | Accession Number: 2013.482.2

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    Brief Narrative
    Small metal heating device, that he called an oven, made from a cigarette tin and other salvaged materials for Walter Wharton, a Jewish British Army medic, by fellow prisoners, some also Jewish, whom he cared for while interned in a concentration camp or prisoner-of-war camp in Germany from 1942 to 1945. Walter was deployed circa 1942 with the British Army Medical Corps in North Africa. He was captured after the British surrendered to German forces in Tobruk, Libya, on June 21, 1942. Walter was sent to a prisoner-of-war camp in Italy. He escaped, was re-captured, and then sent to a prisoner-of war camp in Germany. Walter was eventually sent to a concentration camp, possibly Dachau, where he worked in the camp hospital. Dachau was liberated by American forces on April 29, 1945.
    received:  after 1942 July-1945
    received: Germany
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of David Wharton
    Subject: Walter Wharton
    Walter Wharton was born on September 12, 1916, in Salford, England. He was Jewish but not religious. Walter lived in Manchester, where he trained as a registered nurse at Crumpsall Hospital. World War II began when Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Great Britain declared war on Germany on September 3. Walter enlisted in the British Army Medical Corps. He was stationed at the Allied garrison in Tobruk, Libya. On June 21, 1942, the Allies surrendered Tobruk. Walter was sent to a prisoner-of-war camp in Italy. He escaped, was recaptured by the Germans, and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp in Germany. He was eventually transferred to the concentration camp system to work in the camp hospitals and because he was Jewish. He was possibly held in Dachau. The war ended when Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945. Walter believed that he survived because he had more value alive than dead. In 1950, Walter married Lillian Liddle (1928-1998), in Southport, England. The couple had a son. They later emigrated to Vancouver, Canada. Walter worked as a nursing supervisor. Walter, age 81, died on December 26, 1997, in Maple Ridge, Canada.

    Physical Details

    Tools and Equipment
    Physical Description
    Small, handmade, gray colored metal heating device attached to a rectangular brown leather base covered with a sheet of metal. In the center is a metal casing with a rounded end that slopes down and is inserted into the flat side of a vertical semicircular metal piece. Next to the rounded end of the casing is a metal post with an attached rotating circular disk with a knob. A nail with a wooden handle is inserted through the center of the rounded end casing. Attached to the interior nail end are 4 metal squares that rotate like a fan when the handle is twisted. It is unclear how the device worked or if it is intact.
    overall: Height: 1.875 inches (4.763 cm) | Width: 1.250 inches (3.175 cm) | Depth: 2.500 inches (6.35 cm)
    overall : metal, leather, wood

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The heating device was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2013 by David Wharton, the son of Walter Wharton.
    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:
    2024-06-28 13:56:09
    This page:

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