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Shanghai Volunteer Corps nightstick issued to a Jewish refugee in Shanghai

Object | Accession Number: 1989.243.274

Wooden truncheon issued to Ernst (Ernest) Heppner, in late 1940, as a member of the Shanghai Volunteer Corps (SVC). Founded in 1854, the SVC was under the command of British officers and reinforced the International Settlement’s municipal police. He became a driver for the transport company. Even though he had no prior driving experience, Ernst passed his test at the end of 1940. Ernst was living in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland), with his parents, Isidor and Hilda, his half-sister, Else, and near his half-brother, Heinz. Following the Kristallnacht pogrom in November 1938, and Heinz’s subsequent arrest, the family began looking at emigration options. Eighteen-year-old Ernst and his mother secured passage on a ship to Shanghai, China, where they arrived in March 1939. Ernst soon got a job working for a toy store branch located inside a bookstore, where he began to learn reading English. He also joined an established British Boy Scout troop, the Thirteenth Rovers, as well as the SVC. In May 1943, the Japanese occupation authorities forced the stateless refugees into a ghetto in Hongkew. In April 1945, Ernst married Illo Koratkowski, an immigrant from Berlin. The following month, Germany surrendered to the Allies; Japan surrendered in August. Ernst and Illo were able to get civilian jobs with the American Army, and moved to Nanking (now, Nanjing) in 1946. The following year, Ernst, Illo, his mother, and his father-in-law immigrated to the United States. The couple settled in New York City, where their daughter was born. Ernst didn’t learn the fates of his family until after the war. Heinz and his family immigrated to England in 1939, but both Isidor and Else were killed in the Holocaust.

issue:  1940-1941
received: Shanghai (China)
Object Type
Truncheons (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Ernest G. Heppner
Record last modified: 2023-08-24 13:46:47
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