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Medal and a ribbon bar pin awarded to a Jewish refugee in Shanghai

Object | Accession Number: 1989.243.71 a-b

Badge awarded around 1945 by the British Boy Scouts Association to Ernst (Ernest) Heppner, a Jewish refugee in Shanghai. It was awarded by the British Red Cross for his direct (bed-to-bed) blood transfusion to a British woman, saving her life. Ernst was living in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland), with his parents, Isidor and Hilda, his half-sister, Else. He also had an older half-brother, Heinz (Henry), who lived with his wife and young child. Following the Kristallnacht program and Heinz’s subsequent arrest in November 1938, the family began looking at emigration options. Seventeen-year-old Ernst and his mother secured passage on a ship to Shanghai, China, where they arrived in March 1939. Ernst got a job working for a toy store branch located inside a bookstore, where he began learning to read English. He also joined a British Boy Scout troop, the Thirteenth Rovers, and the Shanghai Volunteer Corps (SVC), which reinforced the International Settlement’s municipal police. In May 1943, the Japanese occupation authorities forced the stateless refugees into a ghetto in Hongkew. In April 1945, Ernst married Illo Koratkowski, a Jewish refugee 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. Ernst’s half-brother, Heinz and his family immigrated to England in 1939, but both his father, Isidor, and his sister, Else, were killed in the Holocaust.

received:  1941-1945
received: Shanghai (China)
Object Type
Medals (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Ernest G. Heppner
Record last modified: 2023-08-24 13:46:43
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