Arbeitsjude [Jewish worker] armband number 102616 worn in the Boryslaw ghetto

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Arbeitsjude [Jewish worker] armband number 102616 embroidered with an A in a Star od David worn by Zbyszek Kelhoffer, circa 1941-1943, as a forced laborer in the Beskiden Oil factory camp in German occupied Boryslaw, Poland (Boryslav, Ukraine). When Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, Zbyszek was mobilized into the Polish Army. After a brief campaign, he returned to Soviet occupied Boryslaw. In June 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union and Zbyszek was drafted into the Soviet Army. He was captured by the Germans, escaped, and returned home. On July 1, German troops occupied Boryslaw. There was a succession of joint German SS and Ukrainian pogroms killing hundreds of Jews. Zbyszek's wife Sydzia and her mother went into hiding. After Belzec killing center opened in March 1942, 1000s of Boryslaw Jews were deported there. By October 1942, Zbyszek, his parents, and two sisters-in-law were confined in the ghetto. Zbyszek was allowed to leave for work and his worker status probably delayed deportation selection. The ghetto was raided often and many were shot during round-ups. By February 1943, Zbyszek had to move to the slave labor camp. SS and Ukrainian troops moved into the ghetto to eliminate the remaining Jews. His parents were shot. Sydzia and her mother joined her two sisters in hiding in June 1943. Zbyszek joined them in December. The Soviet Army liberated Boryslaw on August 8, 1944. Zbyszek and his family were among only 200 surviving Jews from a population of 12,000. After the war ended in May 1945, Boryslaw was Soviet territory, so they left for Poland.

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  • Title: Arbeitsjude [Jewish worker] armband number 102616 worn in the Boryslaw ghetto
  • Provenance: The armband was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2004 by Barbara Kelhoffer Bieganiec, the daughter of of Sydonia and Zbigniew Kelhoffer.
  • Subject Keywords: Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Ukraine--Boryslav--Personal narratives. Jewish families--Ukraine--Boryslav--Biography. Jews--Ukraine--Boryslav--Biography. Slave labor--Ukraine--Boryslav--Biography. World War, 1939-1945--Conscript labor--Personal narratives.
  • Type: Identifying Artifacts
  • Rights: Permanent Collection
  • External Link: See the full record at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Medium: Rectangular, discolored light brown cloth armband with angled corners with a 6-pointed Star of David machine zigzag stitched in grey thread with an A chainstitched in red thread in the center. A number is chainstitched in red thread below the star. There are corroded metal grommets on each side. The long edges are hemmed and the short edges are frayed. The cloth is heavily stained. There is an unattached, black, frayed, and knotted shoelace with corroded metal end tips to insert through the grommets to secure the band to the arm.