Double lens cap for a twin reflex camera used by a Jewish German emigre and US soldier

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Double lens cap for a twin reflex camera, likely a Rolleiflex, owned by 30 year old Rudolph Sichel, a Jewish refugee from Frankfurt, Germany, who served as an officer in the US Army in Europe during World War II. In May 1936, unable to return to Germany from England because of anti-Jewish regulations, Sichel went to the United States. His parents, Ernst and Frieda, joined him in 1940. In April 1943, Sichel enlisted in the army and was sent to Camp Ritchie for military intelligence training in interrogation techniques. In July 1944, Sichel, now Chief Interrogator, Interrogation of Prisoners of War Team 13, landed on Utah Beach in France, where his unit was attached to the 104th Infantry, the Timberwolf Division. As the unit advanced through France, Belgium, and into Germany, Sichel interrogated those captured. On April 11, 1945, the unit liberated Dora-Mittelbau/Nordhausen concentration camp and Rudolph witnessed the horrific conditions. A skilled photographer, he took snapshots of the camp and other events of his military tour. Following Germany’s surrender in May, 2nd Lt. Sichel was attached to the 9th Army. He interrogated prisoners of war and civilian witnesses, and participated in fact finding missions to document and prepare evidence for war crimes trials. In June 1946, 1st Lt. Sichel returned to the US. He was awarded a Bronze Star for his service.

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  • Title: Double lens cap for a twin reflex camera used by a Jewish German emigre and US soldier
  • Provenance: The lens cap was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2003 by Howard S. Sichel and Linda Strohmenger, the children of Rudolph Daniel Sichel.
  • Subject Keywords: German American soldiers--United States--Biography. Jewish refugees--United States--Biography. Jewish soldiers--United States--Biography. Soldiers--United States--Biography. World War, 1939-1945--Concentration camps--Liberation--Personal narratives. World War, 1939-1945--Military intelligence--United States--Personal narratives. World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, American.
  • Type: Audiovisual and Photographic Materials
  • Rights: Permanent Collection
  • External Link: See the full record at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Medium: Two circular, black painted, pressed metal camera lens caps on a flat, rectangular bridge with raised, flared sides. Both lenses have a narrow rim, a recessed, convex inner surface, and straight sidewalls. Notches of varying widths are cut into the bottom rim of one lens.