Riband bar with seven ribbons awarded to a young Jewish soldier, 2nd Polish Corps

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Washington, United States

Riband bar, or undress ribbon, with sections of ribbon for seven medals awarded to Edward Herzbaum for his service in the 2nd Polish Corps, British Army, during World War II. Edward was a soldier in the 5th Kresowa Infantry Division, 2nd Polish Corps, British Army from 1942-1945, and in combat with the British 8th Army in Italy from February 1944-May 8, 1945. 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 prioners. He went south to join the Polish Army of the East, formed by General Anders per agreement with Stalin. 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 its 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: Riband bar with seven ribbons awarded to a young Jewish soldier, 2nd Polish Corps
  • Provenance: The riband bar 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: Seven short ribbon awards hand sewn together in three rows: 1st row has a blue and black horizontally striped ribbon with a ridged, 5 point gold colored metal star attached in the center (Poland: Wound Badge / Virtuti Militari with 1 star denoting owner was wounded once) ; 2nd row has 4 ribbons, from left to right: first, 4 narrow white vertical stripes alternate with 3 wide light brown or faded red/brown stripes [?Poland: Army Medal for War 1939-1945); second, 6 light blue vertical stripes alternate with 5 equal red stripes; third, 3 equal stripes, dark blue, red, light blue (1939-1945 Star); fourth, 5 equal stripes, red, white, green, white red (Italy Star); third row has 2 ribbons: the first has 7 stripes: in the center, 3 narrow white, red, white stripes flanked by wider dark blue and red stripes (War Medal); the second ribbon has a wide red center stripe flanked by 2 less wide green stripes bisected by a dark blue line (Defence Medal.) Each ribbon is wrapped around a piece of rectangular, gray cardboard. The ribbons are hand stitched together and mounted on black felt backing.