JEWISH-AMERICAN HALL OF FAME • JEWISH MUSEUM IN CYBERSPACE
ANTI-SEMITIC BIGOTRY AS CHRONICLED BY HISTORICAL MEDALS


 

Numerous medals were issued to memorialize the plight of the Jews during the era of World War II (Szperling, 2010). One, produced as a tribute to the millions of Jews who died in the Holocaust (figure 52), depicts on the obverse a mother, clasping her two children in a protective embrace while under the watchful eye of an armed guard. They are standing on a railroad station with many others before being herded onto the cattle car that will transport them to one of the Nazi death camps. Sewn to their garments is the Star of David, which every Jew was forced to wear. The reverse shows a shattered oak stump with a tribute to the collection of American numismatist Maurice Frankenhuis. Maurice Frankenhuis, who commissioned this medal, was a Dutch citizen of Jewish descent and a medallist in his own right. He spent a good part of his life building two huge collections of War memorabilia, one for World War I and one for World War II, the latter of which includes an extensive collection of coins, medals and other memorabilia related to the Holocaust; all were ultimately donated to museums in England and Israel.

 Holocaust Commemorative Medal    Tribute to the Six Million Martyrsl
Figure 52. Holocaust Commemorative Medal: Tribute to the Six Million Martyrs

Elizabeth Weistrop, USA, 1960, Bronze medal, 77 mm. (Image courtesy of Aaron Oppenheim)

As this medal shows, all Jews, even small children, were required to wear this emblem on their clothing, as documented by this contemporary photograph taken in 1942 in Berlin, Germany (figure 53).

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