Anvil-shaped paperweight given to a US soldier serving as a displaced persons camp administrator
1945 October 12
Landsberg am Lech (Displaced persons camp);
Landsberg am Lech (Germany)
- Object Type
- Credit Line
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Colonel Irving Heymont
Cast iron, anvil-shaped paperweight made by students in Landsberg displaced persons (DP) camp’s vocational school, and presented with gratitude to Major Irving Heymont in October 1945. Heymont, a 27-year-old Jewish American soldier, deployed to Europe and landed in France in January 1945. He served as a regimental operations officer with the 5th Regiment, 71st Infantry Division, nicknamed the Red Circle. On May 4, 1945, the 71st liberated Gunskirchen, a subcamp of the Mauthausen concentration camp system. After Germany’s surrender, Heymont’s battalion assumed control of the Landsberg DP camp, and Heymont was placed in command. When Heymont first visited the camp, he was shocked to find a filthy, disorganized site surrounded by barbed wire and overcrowded with more than 5000 residents, who were prevented from leaving by US Army guards. Despite immense supply problems, Heymont and his officers managed to make progress and improved sanitation. Heymont converted Landsberg to an all-Jewish camp, had the barbed wire removed, and brought in German and Yiddish-speaking soldiers and administrators to help improve communication with the camp residents. He helped establish a democratic election for a new resident camp committee, facilitated the publication of a newspaper, and supported other community-building initiatives. Heymont commanded the camp from September to December 1945.
Record last modified: 2021-02-10 09:49:35
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn958
Also in Irving Heymont collection
The collection consists of a paperweight, correspondence, documents, photographs, a publication, reports, and a videocassette relating to the experiences of Irving Heymont, then a Major, 5th Regiment, 71st Infantry, during and after World War II in Germany, including the liberation of Gunskirchen concentration camp and his administration of Landsberg displaced persons camp in Germany, as well as continuing educational and commemorative activities.
The Irving Heymont papers contains material concerning Irving Heymont, a U.S. Army officer who assisted in the liberation of Gunskirchen, and was tasked in the administration of the Landsberg am Lech displaced persons camp. Within the collection are letters from Irving to his wife, Joan, discussing the conditions and administration of the camp. Other items include military reports, theses on the Landsberg camp, and various mixed media including German cigarette cards, news clippings, and various photographs of Landsberg and the Gunskirchen liberation. The Irving Heymont papers contain primarily reports and correspondence related to the Landsberg am Lech displaced persons (DP) Camp, of which Heymont was tasked to administer. The majority of the correspondence is from Heymont to his wife Joan from late 1945 to early 1946, and discusses his experiences and camp conditions. Other correspdence is a letter from the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration to Joan, and a letter from Frederic Schafranek regarding the suicide of Dr. Max Blanke, an SS doctor and Landsberg-Kaufering. The reports in this collection are various military reports regarding Landsberg DP camp, as well as a booklet describing the 71st infantry division liberating Gunskirchen. The theses are various German theses collected by Heymont covering the topic of the Landsberg DP camp. The mixed media series contains photographs of Gunskirchen and Landsberg am Lech, Nazi propaganda cigarette cards, various news clippings, and a videocassette of the memorial dedication at the site of the Landsberg DP camp in 1989.