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Virtuti Militari / Wound Badge ribbon with one metal star denoting owner was wounded awarded to a Jewish soldier, 2nd Polish Corps

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Virtuti Militari black and blue ribbon bar, or undress ribbon, with a metal star owned by Edward Herzbaum, a soldier in the 5th Kresowa Infantry Division, 2nd Polish Corps, British Army, from 1942-1945. The star recognizes that the awardee was wounded once in combat. 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, Edward was arrested by Soviet security police and exiled to a forced labor camp. Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. Edward was released as part of an amnesty granted to Polish prisoners. He headed south to join Anders Army, a volunteer Polish military unit formed by General 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 8th British Army in the Italian Campaign. The Corps fought its way north and was honored for its heroism at 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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Details

  • Title: Virtuti Militari / Wound Badge ribbon with one metal star denoting owner was wounded awarded to a Jewish soldier, 2nd Polish Corps
  • Provenance: The ribbon and pin were 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: Dark blue and black ribbon with even, vertical stripes with discoloration wrapped around a small section of rectangular gray cardboard. A small, ridged, 5 pointed tarnished silver colored metal star with dotted arms is attached to the center.

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