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Help with identification- a unit badge? ???

Article about: I've posted this elsewhere but I think it is more relevant to this forum - I'm trying to identify the small badge/medal in the photo below worn between the two Soviet star awards. Does it lo

  1. #1

    Default Help with identification- a unit badge? ???

    I've posted this elsewhere but I think it is more relevant to this forum - I'm trying to identify the small badge/medal in the photo below worn between the two Soviet star awards. Does it look familiar to anyone?
    Help with identification- a unit badge? ???

    This is from a photo of Moshe Gildenman (ca.1950) wearing his medals on an everyday/civilian shirt. Gildenman was a Polish (Ukrainian) Jew who escaped from the Korets Ghetto (Autumn 1942) to become a partisan. He served with the Soviet Partisan forces (from January 1943) before being merged into the Red Army (October 1943), where he served as an interpreter and an engineer. After the war he published wartime stories in the Lodz Jewish press. He moved to Paris where he published several books then emigrated to Israel ca.1952 (died 1957). His Soviet medals were war time awards but, from what I can gather from other sources, the Polish awards were presented in 1958.

  2. #2


    I think I've got it:

    Help with identification- a unit badge? ??? Help with identification- a unit badge? ???

    It sure looks the part, though the size (at 36x45mm) might not be right. Any thoughts?

    Now I just need to find out why he would wear such a badge. He was already an engineer going into the war. Why would he later go through Polish officer's engineering (let alone another vocational) school? Unless it was in an honorific in recognition of what he had done previously?

  3. #3


    For sure it's not this badge.
    Can you show full photo?

  4. #4


    Likely School Badge, but pic in better resolution is needed. May be theres a way to enlarge this fragment.

  5. #5


    Thank you both for posting. At the time this thread was initially active, I was desperate to get the badge identified and was excited to have found one that seemed be similar, even if only vaguely so. I've since come to believe that it is surely a civilian (or at least non-military) pin, likely appropriate to an event for which Gildenman donned his awards, whatever that may have been. I have also since found a better candidate for what it may be. It at least contextually relates to where Gildenman lived at the time the photo was likely taken. I submit that it is a commemorative pin associated with Tel-Aviv. Examples I've found bear the inscription "1909-1929, I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt." (Hebrew). 1954, about when the photo was taken, would have been a 45th anniversary year.

    I welcome any thoughts on the subject.

    Help with identification- a unit badge? ??? Help with identification- a unit badge? ??? Help with identification- a unit badge? ???

  6. #6


    Point of clarification: the dates in my original post are incorrect. I have come to attribute the photo of Gildenman to ca 1954 and the Polish medals were were awarded in April of 1948.

  7. #7


    I wonder why high soviet awards migrated from right to left side.
    In any way, his military history dsnt look impressive at all.

  8. #8


    I can't speak to the particular arrangement of the awards. They do seem to move around a bit in postwar photos. And the partisan medal seems to come and go. Given that they were applied to a civilian shirt in this photo, one can assume that it was of little importance where the were affixed.

    As for a perceived lack of impressiveness, that is purely a matter of opinion. Admittedly he doesn't come across as adorned like a Christmas tree like so many other Soviet soldiers. Gildenman was a Jewish partisan (from September '42) that became a Soviet partisan (January '43) - Ushakov brigade. His unit was disbanded and he was conscripted into the Red Army on October 6 '43. A little more than a week later he was awarded the red star for capturing a German NCO who gave information that enabled him to lead his unit out of an encirclement on October 14. Being decorated a week after joining the army, that's not impressive? The order of the Patriotic War 2nd class was awarded for constructing a bridge across the Vistula while under fire (Summer '43). Surely that's impressive to a degree. The paperwork for these awards indicate that they were both upgraded from an initial award of the Military Merit medal. He also wore the Partisan medal (likely 2nd class, though he did command his own detachments.) and the Soviet Victory over Germany Medal. His polish medals were awarded after the war: Wound bar with 2 stars; The Order of the Gr├╝nwald Cross 3rd class; The Partisan's Cross; The Victory and Freedom Medal (Poland). Not so bad in my opinion.

  9. #9


    I lied when I said his military history does not impress me.
    Its impressive when conscript suddenly becomes translator in rgt. HQ. More impressive is when the translator is awarded with Red Star but not Military Merit medalq for defending HQ. I know some similar situations when soldiers were awarded literally for everything, do You know what is common in all this cases? They all were JEWS.
    After this our heroic translator becomes an engineer and gets GPW2 order for leading the bridge construction. OK, it can be.
    I dont care about Polish rewards but HOW he could keep Polish citizenship after 1939..

  10. #10


    I'm not sure about Gildenman's post war situation vis a vis citizenship/nationality. The political/national tenor of former eastern Polish regions (Volhynia / border area) isn't something I've looked into. Perhaps I will. After the war he was active in Zionist movements in Poland and worked at the Jewish Historical Institute In Lodz. He also published stories in polish and Jewish Journals that came out of Lodz. He also worked at the I have a photo of him at Jelenia Gora in 1947. He moved to Paris in 1948 and published two books there in 1949. He didn't emigrate to Israel until 1952.

    So when did Poland "close" as it were? He clearly was able to get around until moving to Paris in '48

    Though from the Polish/Soviet Ukraine area (Koretz) Gildenman certainly would have identified as Polish (after that of Jewish of course) and surely would have spoken Yiddish (and thus largely German), Polish, and Ukrainian (and thus, to a degree, Russian?). I doubt it was a matter of maintaining Polish citizenship. He joined the war effort by way of the Soviet Partisan forces then into the Red Army. He simply returned to Poland after the war and left before the region was closed by the communists. That's my impression anyway. I really haven explored that aspect of Gildenman's story.

    Also - He was an engineer by training well before the war. It is understandable that he would end up in a Road construction battalion.

    After the war Gildenman's son Simcha returned to Korets and killed the person responsible for murdering his mother and sister. He specifically did so while in Red Army uniform (as he recounted). He was subsequently assigned to several weeks of penal duty for it. So there were poles who had been taken up into the Red army during the war who returned to Poland while still in uniform.

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