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Brown banded wrist watch worn poster by a former labor camp inmate and aid worker

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Dark brown leather wrist watch worn by Hirsch Birman after the war as a refugee in Vienna, Austria. Hirsch and his father Abel lived in Kovno, (Kaunas) Lithuania, which was occupied by Germany on June 22, 1941. They fled, but were caught and brought back. On August 15, they were forced into a sealed ghetto. Hirsch was sent to Kedahnen concentration/labor camp in September, and Abel arrived in spring 1943. When the camp was being evacuated on July 9, 1944, due to approaching Soviet forces, they escaped through holes that Hirsch cut with pliers in the barbed wire fences. They hid in the forest until told by local farmers that it was safe to come out. They returned to Kovno but conditions were very bad and they decided to leave even though they had no permits. The war ended on May 7, 1945, and they arrived in Vienna, Austria, in September. From 1945-1948, Hirsch lived in displaced persons camps and worked for Bricha, a group that organized the illegal immigration of Jews to Palestine. He and Abel emigrated to the United States in 1952.

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Details

  • Title: Brown banded wrist watch worn poster by a former labor camp inmate and aid worker
  • Provenance: The wrist watch was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1999 by George Birman.
  • Subject Keywords: Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Lithuania--Personal narratives. Slave labor--Lithuania--Biography. Jewish refugees--Austria. Jews--Persecutions--Lithuania. World War, 1939-1945--Conscript labor--Occupied territories. World War, 1939-1945--Refugees--United States.
  • Type: Personal Equipment and Supplies
  • Rights: Permanent Collection
  • External Link: See the full record at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Medium: Wristwatch with a rectangular, silver metal case, converse glass cover, and dark brown leather band. The gold colored, off center face has painted black Arabic numbers. The face has a dark gold border with black painted diagonal lines marking the hours and minutes. Below the hands is a rectangular subdial with a single hand and a dark gold border with black painted diagonal lines to mark the hour. There is a gold grooved knob on the right side of the case. The band has a metal buckle and tine, a movable leather loop on 1 end, and 6 holes on the pointed end. The pointed end inserts into a slot in the top of the case, passes underneath, and exits through a slot at the bottom. There is French text on the face.

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