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Czech Air Force pilot badge issued to a Jewish veteran

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Czech Air Force pilot badge issued to Frank Meissner for his service in the Czech Air Force from 1944-1945 for the Czech government in exile in Great Britain. It may be an observers badge. At the age of 16, Frank left Trest, Czechoslovakia, in 1939 to avoid the increasingly harsh Nazi persecutions of Jews. He went to Denmark with Youth Aliyah to attend agricultural school. In fall 1943, when the Germans decided to deport all Jews from Denmark, Frank was smuggled on a fishing boat to Sweden. During his exile, he received weekly letters from his family, even after their deportation to Theresienstadt ghetto. The letters stopped in 1943. In the fall of 1944, Frank learned that his family had been sent to Auschwitz concentration camp. He joined the Czech army-in-exile in Great Britain. After the war ended in May 1945, Frank returned to Czechoslovakia searching for his family, but he found no survivors.

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Details

  • Title: Czech Air Force pilot badge issued to a Jewish veteran
  • Provenance: The medal was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2004 by Margit Meissner, the wife of Frank Meissner.
  • Subject Keywords: Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Czechoslovakia--Personal narratives. Jewish refugees--Denmark--Biography. Jewish refugees--Great Britain--Biography. Jews--Czech Republic--Trest--History--20th century. World War, 1939-1945--Jews--Rescue--Denmark. World War, 1939-1945--Participation, Jewish.
  • Type: Military Insignia
  • Rights: Permanent Collection
  • External Link: See the full record at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Medium: Shield-shaped copper colored wreath shaped metal badge with a winged sword passing vertically through the wreath of layered, linden leaves. The sword hilt extends above the wreath. There is a coat-of-arms with the Czech Bohemian rampant lion with split tail in the center of the sword. A hook and straight pin catch is soldered to the back.

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