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Concentration Camp Prisoner's Uniforms

Article about: Most of the uniforms were made in the textile workshops of some of the larger Konzentrationslagers, such as KL-Dachau, KL-Sachsenhausen or f.KL-Ravensbrück. The material differed slightly fr

  1. #71
    JMM
    JMM is offline
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    Default Re: Concentration Camp Prisoner's Uniforms

    Very very interesting (and disturbing) thread
    Thank you (for another) great thread filled with History

  2. #72

    Default Re: Concentration Camp Prisoner's Uniforms

    Look at the following photos. The story I was told about that jacket is that when the soldiers of the US army liberated the KL Buchenwald, one skinny inmate came to hug the US vet crying and thanking him for the liberation. The inmate was filthy and full of lice, so the soldier gave him his shirt so that he could wear one without lice. The one I show you here was supposedly that jacket worn by that guy and was taken by US vet back to USA as a "souvenir" after delousing it in the camp. He wanted to show his friends and relatives the conditions of the inmates in German concentration camps. The jacket is a civil garment modified inside the camp. That was done when they have run out of camp uniforms. I have seen some photos with inmates wearing those civil garments (look at the b/w photos attached. You can see one young boy with a patch to the back, on the left of the Mauthausen liberation photo). They were sewn a striped patch to the back and sometimes KL letters were drawn or an X. This one is curious as inside, the linen liner has some KL numbers written and a stamp of the "Gesellschaft für Textil- und Lederverwertung" or Texled. That means that in those workshops some jackets were repaired with patches to recycle them. The seller told me that different numbers written inside mean that it was used by different inmates. Credible? I think this one has many chances to be original. Although it is not the typical striped one. Please look at the photos. Possible that the jacket is original but triangles and number are fakes? One detail. Triangels are upside down not due to an error, but due to the fact that the inmate was a prominent communist jew. I mean, a communist jew with a high rank. That's why configuration of the triangles isn't the opposite. I also have the supposed letter which the grandson of the US vet wrote as a certificate of authenticity, telling the name of the soldier and how he brought it back to USA.
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  3. #73

    Default Re: Concentration Camp Prisoner's Uniforms

    Some close-ups of the jacket. I have taken close-ups of some details such as weaving, buttons, holes, etc.
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  4. #74

    Default Re: Concentration Camp Prisoner's Uniforms

    Some close-ups of the torusers. I have taken close-ups of some details such as weaving, buttons, holes, etc.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture IMG_3382.jpg   IMG_3383.jpg  

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  5. #75
    ?

    Default Re: Concentration Camp Prisoner's Uniforms

    Firstly, the image that you posted is the liberation of Mauthausen. At Mauthausen, some prisoners wore civilian clothing that was altered with large visible insignia. In other camps, including Auschwitz-I, Stammlager (the main camp), prisoners who worked within the camp were at times allowed to wear clothing without stripes, but again, it was marked in a very specific way. I will repeat again that the vast majority of KL uniform material was marked with the stripes on both sides. The holes on the above garment also appear rather fresh to the naked eye - a concern in itself. Having been told that the seller has a stock of this type of material at any given time, I would be very wary of any item from that source.
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  6. #76

    Default Re: Concentration Camp Prisoner's Uniforms

    Yes, I agree with the above. As I said in my previous post, even if this were authentic, it would be nearly impossible to prove that it was. All I can say is that my 27 years experience of collecting old uniforms and clothing makes me feel strongly that this jacket does not look right. Also, I'm deeply unconvinced about a US soldier taking this jacket as a souvenir. If I visited a concentration camp in 1945, bearing in mind the stench, disease, lice and dead bodies, the last thing I would want to but in my kit bag would be a prisoners jacket. The striped uniform is more convincing. I do think a proper assessment by a museum is necessary, and I wish you the best of luck in getting this situation sorted out. I hope you will update us with how you get on.

  7. #77
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    Default Re: Concentration Camp Prisoner's Uniforms

    Quote by Gernika81 View Post
    Look at the following photos. The story I was told about that jacket is that when the soldiers of the US army liberated the KL Buchenwald, one skinny inmate came to hug the US vet crying and thanking him for the liberation. The inmate was filthy and full of lice, so the soldier gave him his shirt so that he could wear one without lice. The one I show you here was supposedly that jacket worn by that guy and was taken by US vet back to USA as a "souvenir" after delousing it in the camp. He wanted to show his friends and relatives the conditions of the inmates in German concentration camps. The jacket is a civil garment modified inside the camp. That was done when they have run out of camp uniforms. I have seen some photos with inmates wearing those civil garments (look at the b/w photos attached. You can see one young boy with a patch to the back, on the left of the Mauthausen liberation photo). They were sewn a striped patch to the back and sometimes KL letters were drawn or an X. This one is curious as inside, the linen liner has some KL numbers written and a stamp of the "Gesellschaft für Textil- und Lederverwertung" or Texled. That means that in those workshops some jackets were repaired with patches to recycle them. The seller told me that different numbers written inside mean that it was used by different inmates. Credible? I think this one has many chances to be original. Although it is not the typical striped one. Please look at the photos. Possible that the jacket is original but triangles and number are fakes? One detail. Triangels are upside down not due to an error, but due to the fact that the inmate was a prominent communist jew. I mean, a communist jew with a high rank. That's why configuration of the triangles isn't the opposite. I also have the supposed letter which the grandson of the US vet wrote as a certificate of authenticity, telling the name of the soldier and how he brought it back to USA.
    I'm not sure this account holds up to be honest. The first question that springs to mind is, if the camp had been liberated by the U.S. Army and a GI gave an inmate his shirt, why would the inmate modify it and add the striped patches, the KL and a Jewish star?
    If the camp was free, there would be no reason to do this, they weren't being held by the Germans and so had no requirement to convert new clothes back to how the Germans wanted them to wear such garments. If they were given new clothes, just wear them.

    Also, if the GI had given an inmate his shirt, one inmate out of thousands, would he really go and find that person later, ask for his shirt back (dirty and full of lice) and then go and get it cleaned to take back home to show folks what it was like? Doesn't sound plausible to me. If he wanted to do that, why not just get a regular striped KZ uniform and clean it? That's what was being worn, not U.S. Army issue.

  8. #78

    Default Re: Concentration Camp Prisoner's Uniforms

    Quote by Gernika81 View Post
    The story I was told about that jacket is that when the soldiers of the US army liberated the KL Buchenwald.... the one I show you here .... was taken by US vet back to USA as a "souvenir" after delousing it in the camp.
    I would therefore advise contacting the Buchenwald Gedenkstätte (D-99427 Weimar, Germany, email buchenwald (at) buchenwald.de or fax 49 3643 43010.) to ask about the prisoner number on the jacket, who it was issued to and what class of inmate this person was. I am not sure what percentage of the Buchenwald prisoner data might have survived as the Nazis tried to destroy as much documentation of their crimes as possible ahead of the Allied forces, but hopefully this number sequence is in the available camp records.

    The Buchenwald Museum's Collections department might help with the jacket type also, the collections department contact:
    Collection management
    Kirsten Holm
    Fon: +49 (0) 3643 430 159
    Fax: +49 (0) 3643 430 100
    hkirsten (at) buchenwald (dot) com


    I wonder why the "Gesellschaft fur Textil- und Lederverwertung" stamp is not in the complete form of "Deutsche Gesellschaft für Textil- und Lederverwertung mbH" (The German Society for the Utilization of Textile and Leather, Inc.) or even the shorter "Gesellschaft für Textil- und Lederverwertung mbH" (Society for the Utilization of Textile and Leather, Inc.) with the umlaut diacritic in "für" which looks to be missing in the stamp on the jacket and the "mbH" or company type which is also missing in the jacket stamp. I am not an expert in these types official stamps but I would assume they would include the diacritic marks and the full official organisation titles? Perhaps our more knowledgeable TR collecters could confirm?
    I collect, therefore I am.

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  9. #79

    Default Re: Concentration Camp Prisoner's Uniforms

    Ok. After some days of doing research on my garments, I got some very interesting answers from the curator of the Buchenwald KL museum, and I will share it with you all. I must say that Holm, the expert and curator of Buchenwald KL-Mittelbau-Dora museum is a very nice person, who helped me out with this issue desinterestedly. That being said, I must tell you all that I asked in 4 KL and museums about my garments' originality. I asked in Auschwitz museum, in Yad Vashem, in USHMM in Washington and in KL Buchenwald museum. Ok, first three couldn't help me with this so desperatedly I turned to KL Buchenwald museum and I exchanged some emails with Holm. I must say that the curator of the USHMM was also very nice but couldn't help me. He told me that I must turn to an expert in textiles. So yesterday I received an answer from Buchenwald. To my surprise, after sending photos of a pair of trousers (detailed photos) and from 3 of my jackets, I got a thumbs up on all of them. And what's more, I got the information of the former inmates who wore those garments! Look at the answer:

    This time the clothes look very real. I spoke with a colleague about it, which also has no doubts as to the authenticity. From him originate the information on the detainees who have worn the clothes:

    The prisoner jacket is a woman's jacket, to recognize the rounded collar points. The number 41731 was assigned in Ravensbrück concentration camp to the "political" Polin Ziemniak Helena, born in 1906. Ziemniak woman was in 1944 in Buchenwald satellite camp HASAG Leipzig. Number and angle probably have been (probably by the owner herself) applied subsequently.

    The second jacket with the prisoner number 1504 belonged to the Buchenwald inmate Paul Herman Rohde, born 1896 in Elmshorn. The red bar on the angle stands for "politically backslide".

    The pants are apparently real, but is missing the number on the right pant leg. There are at least discernible punctures etc. would be found.

    So at least some experts gave me a thumbs up. That's great.

  10. #80

    Default Re: Concentration Camp Prisoner's Uniforms

    Thanks for updating us, I am honestly very pleased you have had such positive news. I am also extremely surprised. I'm still not convinced, but obviously you should value a museum curators opinion more than mine!

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