Small white bag with a button saved from the coat of a young Jewish girl deported to Auschwitz

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Small, sealed, cloth pouch containing a button from the coat of 10 year Fryda Hirshfeld who was deported from Lodz Ghetto and murdered in Auschwitz in 1942. The button was returned to her father, Julian, after the war in late 1940s in Paris, by Mr. Mechtiger, a prewar family neighbor from Lodz, Poland. Julian sewed the button in the pouch and attached the string. Lodz was occupied by German troops on September 8, 1939. Fryda, her father, and her mother, Hela, were forced into the sealed Jewish ghetto in February 1940. Fryda was deported and murdered in Auschwitz in 1942 and Hela met the same fate in 1943. Julian was in Lodz until 1942/43 and was transported to several concentration camps because his skills as a textile engineer were valuable to the Germans. He was interned at Birkenau, Auschwitz, Goleshau, and Buchenwald concentration camps. He was liberated at Buchenwald by US troops on April 11, 1945, and sent to a Red Cross refugee center in France. He encountered Franka Rosenblum, whom he had known before and during the war. Franka, from Zawiercie, was a forced laborer and resistance member. In August 1943, she was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, and tattooed with the number 56362. She worked in a hospital, then a Krupp ammunition factory. In January 1945, she was on death marches to Malkov, Ravensbruck, and Leipzig, where she escaped and hid. The area was soon liberated and she was relocated to Paris. A few months after their September 26, 1946 marriage, Franka and their infant daughter emigrated to the United States. Julian followed in 1949.

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  • Title: Small white bag with a button saved from the coat of a young Jewish girl deported to Auschwitz
  • Provenance: The small pouch and button were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1993 by Frances Hirshfeld, the widow of Julian Hirshfeld.
  • Subject Keywords: Concentration camp inmates--Poland--Oswiecim--Biography. Deportees--Poland--Lodz--Biography. Ex-concentration camp inmates--France--Paris--Biography. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Poland--Lodz--Personal narratives. Jewish children in the Holocaust--Poland--Lodz--Biography. Jewish refugees--France--Paris--Biography. World War, 1939-1945--Refugees--France--Paris--Personal narratives.
  • Type: Containers
  • Rights: Permanent Collection
  • External Link: See the full record at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Medium: Very small, square, white cloth pouch with rounded corners stitched closed with white thread. It contains a small, circular, metal button. A red thread drawstring passes through a channel at the top and forms a knotted, 4 inch looped handle. The pouch is discolored and stained.