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Plastic eyeglass frames, temple and lenses worn by a Jewish prisoner in several concentration camps 2010.494.2 a front

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Eyeglass frames, temple, and lenses worn by Karl Schlesinger while a prisoner in several concentration camps from May 1939, when he was 22, until April 1945. As he was processed for prison, a German civilian warned him not to wear his glasses so he hid them in his hands. The eyeglass bridge was repaired by a German civilian working in one camp. By May 1939, Karl had fled Nazi Germany for Belgium. He was imprisoned twice by the Belgians, first as an illegal Jewish refugee, then as a German spy. He was sent to a military hospital in France and when Germany occupied that country in June 1940, he was transferred to St-Cyprien and Gurs internment camps. In August 1942, Karl was deported to Trezbinia concentration camp, then to Auschwitz, where he was tattooed with 160304. In November 1943, he was sent to Warsaw to clean the ghetto after the failed uprising. When Soviet troops approached in July 1944, he was forced on a death march and sent by train to Dachau, then Allach. He was liberated on a train on April 29 in Starnberger See by an American tank division. He travelled to Feldalfing and other dp camps where he heard that his parents were alive in Berlin. After two tries, he illegally crossed into the Soviet sector to find them. Karl reunited with his parents, Philipp and Johanna, in Berlin that November.

Eyeglass frames, temple, and lenses worn by Karl Schlesinger while a prisoner in several concentration camps from May 1939, when he was 22, until April 1945. As he was processed for prison, a German civilian warned him not to wear his glasses so he hid them in his hands. The eyeglass bridge was repaired by a German civilian working in one camp. By May 1939, Karl had fled Nazi Germany for Belgium. He was imprisoned twice by the Belgians, first as an illegal Jewish refugee, then as a German spy. He was sent to a military hospital in France and when Germany occupied that country in June 1940, he was transferred to St-Cyprien and Gurs internment camps. In August 1942, Karl was deported to Trezbinia concentration camp, then to Auschwitz, where he was tattooed with 160304. In November 1943, he was sent to Warsaw to clean the ghetto after the failed uprising. When Soviet troops approached in July 1944, he was forced on a death march and sent by train to Dachau, then Allach. He was liberated on a train on April 29 in Starnberger See by an American tank division. He travelled to Feldalfing and other dp camps where he heard that his parents were alive in Berlin. After two tries, he illegally crossed into the Soviet sector to find them. Karl reunited with his parents, Philipp and Johanna, in Berlin that November.

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  • Title: Plastic eyeglass frames, temple and lenses worn by a Jewish prisoner in several concentration camps 2010.494.2 a front
  • Provenance: The eyeglass sections were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2010 by Karl Schlesinger., The eyeglass sections were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2010 by Karl Schlesinger.
  • Subject Keywords: Concentration camp inmates--Biography. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Poland--Personal narratives. Jews--Persecutions--Biography. Jewish refugees--Belgium. World War, 1939-1945--Refugees--Personal narratives., Concentration camp inmates--Biography. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Poland--Personal narratives. Jews--Persecutions--Biography. Jewish refugees--Belgium. World War, 1939-1945--Refugees--Personal narratives.
  • Type: Personal Equipment and Supplies, Personal Equipment and Supplies
  • Rights: Permanent Collection, Permanent Collection
  • External Link: See the full record at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, See the full record at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Medium: a. Tortoise shell patterned plastic eyeglass frames with semi-circular rims with a flat upper edge; the left rim is cracked. The bridge has a rectangular metal plate screwed to the front and reverse. A metal hinged endpiece connects the rim to the right temple. The left temple is missing and there are hinge remnants on the left endpiece. b. Eyeglass frame temple made of a metal rod coated with yellow plastic. The rectangular end tapers to a curved earpiece. c. Intact, ovular clear eyeglass lens with dark brown rust spots. d. Three semi-circular sections of a broken clear eyeglass lens with dark brown rusts spots and a small glass chip: 1 section with a vertical crack and an intact, rounded edge (1.125hx1.500w; 1 with an intact, rounded edge (0.625hx1.375w; and 1 with an intact, rounded edge that narrows to a slightly pointed edge (0.750hx1.250w)., a. Tortoise shell patterned plastic eyeglass frames with semi-circular rims with a flat upper edge; the left rim is cracked. The bridge has a rectangular metal plate screwed to the front and reverse. A metal hinged endpiece connects the rim to the right temple. The left temple is missing and there are hinge remnants on the left endpiece. b. Eyeglass frame temple made of a metal rod coated with yellow plastic. The rectangular end tapers to a curved earpiece. c. Intact, ovular clear eyeglass lens with dark brown rust spots. d. Three semi-circular sections of a broken clear eyeglass lens with dark brown rusts spots and a small glass chip: 1 section with a vertical crack and an intact, rounded edge (1.125hx1.500w; 1 with an intact, rounded edge (0.625hx1.375w; and 1 with an intact, rounded edge that narrows to a slightly pointed edge (0.750hx1.250w).

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