Concentration Camp Uniform, about 1940-1945


Worn by Jan Kamienski, a Polish Catholic who was seized by the Germans inApril, 1940 in Poznan, Poland and set to Dachau, then to Mauthausen, then back to Dachau.He spent a little over five years in a concentration camp when he was liberated by the GIs.He spoke and read German and Polish and was apparently used as a translator in the camps.He was very ill during his internment but managed to survive.He came to Detroit shortly after the war where he met and married the donor of the uniform.He died in the late 1970s. There are many reasons that the United States is a nation of nations--the war and political imprisonment and persecution drove many refugees from Europe to settle here.Jan Kamienski brought with him this uniform--a remembrance or touchstone to the atrocities he underwent and saw in two concentration camps even though he was starting life anew in the United States.This uniform, and the accompanying documents, constitute one kind of"baggage" that immigrants bring with them to the New World.

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