"Poland" military uniform patch worn by a young Jewish soldier, 2nd Polish Corps

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Poland military uniform patch issued to Edward Herzbaum, a soldier in the 2nd Polish Corps from 1941-1945. Edward, 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, Edward was arrested by Soviet security police and exiled to a forced labor camp. Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. He headed south to join the Polish Forces of the East, known as Anders Army, a volunteer Polish military unit formed by Generals Sikorski and Anders per agreement with Stalin. In August 1942, the unit left Soviet territory and became the 2nd Polish Corps in the British Army. In February 1944, they deployed to join the British 8th Army in the Italian Campaign. The Corps fought its way north and was honored for heroism in the May 1944 Battle of Monte Cassino. They were in Italy on May 7, 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: "Poland" military uniform patch worn by a young Jewish soldier, 2nd Polish Corps
  • Provenance: The patch was 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: Kidney shaped red felt military patch with Poland embroidered in offwhite thread, now discolored, on light brown canvas backing. There are loose threads and pinholes around the edge where it was sewn to a uniform.