Gift of Peretz and Blanche Milbauer
Id no. 2246.89, Textile
After the war, grateful survivors of a death march gave this cloth Star of David to Master Sergeant Peretz (Perry) Milbauer as a sign of their thanks for his help. Peretz Milbauer was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1915 and joined the U.S. armed forces in 1943. He was deployed to the units fighting in Europe in August 1944. In April 1945, Milbauer encountered a group of survivors for the first time, and it had a profound effect on him as a Jew. He met the group of approximately 2,200 death-march survivors near the town of Waldenburg, Germany. After suffering for years under cruel oppression, these survivors were suddenly abandoned by their Nazi guards who were trying to evade capture by the Allies. Using his Yiddish language skills, Milbauer spoke with the group, provided them with food, and compiled a list of their names. Later, he was able to send the names to a variety of publications in the United States in the hopes that relatives would find their surviving family members. The publication of the names met with a tremendous response. In thanks, the survivors gave Milbauer several gifts, including this cloth Star of David. The Star of David may have been used by Jews interned in the camps or may have been made by the survivors after the war, as a sign of their pride as Jews.
Discover more about this artifact and other stories from the Museum’s collection in, “To Life: 36 Stories of Memory and Hope” http://www.pickmanmuseumshop.com/tolif36storo.html