Great Seal of the US lapel pin used by a Jewish German emigre during his US Army service

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Lapel pin with the United States Seal used by Rudolph Sichel, a Jewish refugee from Frankfurt, Germany, who served in the US Army from 1943 to June 1946. In May 1936, unable to return to Germany from England because of anti-Jewish regulations, Rudolph went to the United States. His parents, Ernst and Frieda, joined him in 1940. In April 1943, Rudolph enlisted in the army and was sent to Camp Ritchie for military intelligence training in interrogation techniques. In July 1944, Rudolph, 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, Rudolph 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: Great Seal of the US lapel pin used by a Jewish German emigre during his US Army service
  • Provenance: The lapel pin 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--Germany--Weimar (Thuringia)--Personal narratives, American. World War, 1939-1945--Military intelligence--United States--Personal narratives. World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, American.
  • Type: Military Insignia
  • Rights: Permanent Collection
  • External Link: See the full record at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Medium: Circular, shiny, gold colored, die-cast metal pin with the cut out design of the Great Seal of the United States. It depicts an eagle with outstretched wings and a breast shield, with 13 stripes. In its beak is a banner, with Latin text, supporting 13 stars in a bordered cloud. In its left talons it clutches an olive branch, and in the right, bundled arrows. On the back are 2 black spring steel Tinnerman clutch back pins.