SA brown uniform shirt with Rottenfuhrer insignia acquired by a US soldier

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

SA [Sturmabteilung] brown uniform shirt with swastika armband brought back from the war by Harry Meyerowitz, a soldier in the US Army in Europe from 1944-1945. It has the official tag of the RZM, the National Equipment Quartermaster. The collar insignia indicates a rank of SA - Rottenfuhrer, a Troop leader for a paramilitary squad of 5-7 men. The green collar tab number 133, was for Gruppe Sachsen, which was located in Saxony, Germany, from 1933 until May 1945. The SA was a Nazi paramilitary organization. Known as Brownshirts or Storm Troopers, the SA protected Nazi leaders, marched in Nazi rallies, and terrorized political opponents during Hitler’s rise to power. By 1933, SA membership had expanded to nearly three million men. It lost most of its political power to the SS after a 1934 purge. Harry deployed to Europe in 1944. His unit entered Ohrdruf concentration camp on April 6, 1945, two days after its liberation by US troops. This was the first camp liberated by American forces. Ruth Krautwirth, her parents Hanna and Isak, and brother Zev were deported from Frankfurt, Germany, to Birkenau in April 1943. Ruth and Hanne, separated from Isak and Zev, were together through Birkenau, Ravensbruck, and Malchow, and were liberated on a death march by US troops in May 1945. Zev survived Birkenau, Sachsenhausen, Gunskirchen, and Mauthausen, and then went to Palestine. Several of Ruth’s relatives were killed in the Holocaust. Her father Isak, 46, was killed in Auschwitz on November 19, 1943. Her maternal grandfather and cousins also were killed. Ruth and Hannah left for America in 1947, where Ruth and Harry met, and then married in 1948.

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  • Title: SA brown uniform shirt with Rottenfuhrer insignia acquired by a US soldier
  • Provenance: The SA shirt was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1988 by Ruth Meyerowitz, the wife of Harry Meyerowitz.
  • Subject Keywords: Jewish soldiers--United States--Biography. Soldiers--United States--Biography. World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Western Front. World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, American.
  • Type: Clothing and Dress
  • Rights: Permanent Collection
  • External Link: See the full record at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Medium: Long sleeved, light brown cloth shirt with collar tabs, shoulder straps, a red swastika armband, and French cuffs. It is waist length with elasticized sides, a cloth belt loop, and 5 gold painted metal belt hooks inserted along the bottom, which keep the shirt hem down and taut. The front opening placket has 5 buttonholes and 5 silver colored metal shank buttons with rings attached inside; this placket has a gray protective cloth cover. There are 2 large bellows breast pockets with angled corners, a central pleat, and a flap with a silver colored metal button and a ring. The collar has green and white twisted cord trim, on the left collar is a green collar tab with 2 white ribbons flanking a green stripe and on the right is a green collar tab with split stitched numbers. The right shoulder has a green wool shoulder strap with green and white cord attached to a silver colored metal button. The collar ends have snap closures on the back to hold it upright as a standing collar. The red cloth armband sewn to the left upper arm has a white cloth circle with a woven black mobile swastika. The interior upper back is lined with gray cloth. The interior neckband has a brown cloth hanging loop and a white tag. There are red embroidered initials, KH, on the inside left breast.