Italy Star medal, ribbon, and box of issue awarded to a Jewish soldier, 2nd Polish Corps

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

British issued Italy Star Medal with striped ribbon and box awarded to Edward Herzbaum for honor and gallantry during his service in the Allied campaign in Italy. Edward was a soldier in the 5th Krestowa Infantry, 2nd Polish Corps, British Army from 1942-1945, and in combat with the British 8th Army in Italy from February 1944-May 8, 1945. The medal was received by his daughter in 1990 on his behalf. Many Polish soldiers refused their British medals as a protest against the government for excluding them from the Victory Parade of 1946 due to pressure from Stalin. Edward, age 19, left Lodz, Poland, shortly after Nazi Germany occupied the country in September 1939 to stay with family in Soviet controlled Lvov. In June 1940, he was arrested by Soviet security police and exiled to a forced labor camp. Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. Edward was released due to an amnesty granted to Polish prisoners. He went south to join Anders Army, a Polish voluntary military unit. In August 1942, the unit left Soviet territory and became the 2nd Polish Corps of the British Army. In February 1944, they deployed to join the 8th British Army in the Italian Campaign. The Corps fought its way north and was honored for heroism in the Battle of Monte Cassino. They were in Italy on VE Day, May 8, 1945, when the war ended. Edward learned that his mother had died in the Lodz Ghetto in 1943. He studied architecture in Rome until the British decided to allow Polish Corps veterans to emigrate to England in October 1946. He then served in the Polish Resettlement Corps for two years and completed his degree.

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  • Title: Italy Star medal, ribbon, and box of issue awarded to a Jewish soldier, 2nd Polish Corps
  • Provenance: The medal and ribbon with fitted box were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2012 by Krystyna Mew, the daughter of Edward (Herzbaum) Hartry.
  • Subject Keywords: Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Poland--Personal narratives. Jewish soldiers--Poland--Biography. World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Italy--Personal narratives, Polish. World War, 1939-1945--Conscript labor--Soviet Union--Personal narratives, Polish. 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: a. Copper-zinc alloy medal in the shape of a six-pointed star with a stippled band on the front center embossed with a large, ornate monogram surmounted by the royal crown with the legend in English text around the foot. The reverse is smooth and blank. There is a ring and a suspension ring attached to the top point. b. Rectangular strip of grosgrain ribbon with 5 equal stripes of red, white, green, white and red, the national colours of Italy. The ribbon would be inserted through the suspension ring of the medal (a). c. Rectangular, black plastic box with a hinged lid, a raised gold painted metal border, and a crown stamped in gold paint on the exterior lid center. A small tab on the base helps to open the lid. The foam padded interior is lined with black velvet.


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