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Anvil-shaped paperweight given to a US soldier serving as a displaced persons camp administrator

Object | Accession Number: 1989.259.1

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.

Date
received:  1945 October 12
Geography
received: Landsberg am Lech (Displaced persons camp); Landsberg am Lech (Germany)
Language
English
Classification
Decorative Arts
Category
Handicrafts
Object Type
Paperweights (lcsh)
Genre/Form
Memorabilia.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Colonel Irving Heymont
 
Record last modified: 2021-02-10 09:49:35
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn958