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Polish Union of Swimming red felt badge with an eagle awarded postwar to a Polish Army swim coach

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Polish Union of Swimming badge awarded to Henryk Zguda between 1947-57 when he was a sports trainer and swim coach for the Polish Army. In 1952, he took the Polish water polo team to the Olympics. The badge features the Polish eagle, the national crest of Poland, represented without the crown during the Communist era. Henryk, a 25 year old Catholic, was arrested in occupied Krakow by the German SS on May 30, 1942. On June 15, Henryk was deported to Auschwitz concentration camp. He was given a red triangle with the letter P to identify him as a political prisoner. He was transferred to Buchenwald on March 12, 1943, where he worked in the stone quarry. In spring 1945, Buchenwald was evacuated and, on April 10, Henryk was forced on a death march to Dachau. He was liberated by American troops on April 29. Henryk was hospitalized and then sent to Neu Freimann displaced persons camp. He returned to Krakow in 1946.

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  • Title: Polish Union of Swimming red felt badge with an eagle awarded postwar to a Polish Army swim coach
  • Location: Poland--History--Occupation, 1939-1945.
  • Provenance: The badge was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2004 by Nancy Zguda, the wife of Henry Zguda.
  • Subject Keywords: Concentration camp inmates--Germany--Biography. Concentration camp inmates--Poland--Biography. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Poland--Personal narratives. Political prisoners--Poland--Biography. World War, 1939-1945--Prisoners and prisons, Polish.
  • Type: Identifying Artifacts
  • Rights: Permanent Collection
  • External Link: See the full record at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Medium: Shield shaped red felt badge with a light brown felt, uncrowned, Polish dexter facing eagle basted in the center with light brown thread. The eagle has a red metallic thread embroidered eye, silver metallic thread embroidery on the body, wings, leg, and tail, and gold on the beak and talons. The letters PZP are embroidered in silver metallic thread at the top edge and have paper backing.

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