Dark 20th C history mementos -- what to do with them?

Doing some deep purging of the closets, and I came across some dark mementos from the last century that my grandfather had picked up. He was an Austrian Jew who fled Vienna (in 38 or 39). He eventually ended up in the British army, during and after the war. I have a pair of binoculars and a medal; I don't know the story of how he ended up with these.

Anyway, I'm not sure what to do with them. The binoculars I actually don't know enough to be 100% certain if they're German or British -- they look like what I've see as being German in movies, but I don't know for sure. So my first question would be if there's a good way to determine which military they're from.

The medal is pretty obvious, and it's not British. Chilling to read the inscription and recall it's not a prop, actually.

I don't want to put these up for sale -- I wouldn't want these to go to anyone with any kind of personal enthusiasm for this sort of thing. It feels weird to keep them in my closet. Maybe keep them until my kids are old enough to learn this history? But doesn't that kind of turn these into a weird totem?

Do museums take this sort of thing? Would these artifacts be helpful to some institution in preserving the memory of that era? (I think the keeping alive the memory of exactly what happened is important -- for the memory of the millions who died and to hopefully help us avoid anything like a repeat). Assuming a museum or other institution is the right place for these, how would I go about locating the right one?


Not quite the answer your are seeking..... my father had WW II relics from a Japanese P.O.W. he befriended. About 15 years ago, we delivered them to the Japanese embassy in N.Y.C. They were able to track down relatives of the soldier and turned them over to his descendants. 

More to your question, there are museums in German occupied Europe that house artifacts. I toured a German bunker in Calais that is now a museum. Maybe contact a French, Dutch or other embassy and ask if they have a museum to which the artifacts can be donated. They would likely pay for shipping costs. 


I'd get in touch with a curator at a local historical museum. I'm sure they'd point you in the right direction.


Try the Holocaust Memorial Museum in New York. 

https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn521602

Medals and Insignia

We collect medals and insignia on a case-by-case basis. Be prepared to provide information about how the item was acquired and, if possible, the original owner of the insignia and where and when it was worn.

https://www.ushmm.org/collections/the-museums-collections/donate-to-the-collections

Contact curator@ushmm.org.



cramer said:

Try the Holocaust Memorial Museum in New York. 

https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn521602

Medals and Insignia

We collect medals and insignia on a case-by-case basis. Be prepared to provide information about how the item was acquired and, if possible, the original owner of the insignia and where and when it was worn.

https://www.ushmm.org/collections/the-museums-collections/donate-to-the-collections

Contact curator@ushmm.org.

 I wish I knew more of the history. My grandfather passed away when I was young -- my grandmother lived for much longer but she wouldn't talk about any of that (I believe she was the only one of her family who got out and survived). Given that history, I would feel good if these relics ended up at a Jewish institution.

A bit more research online suggests the medal is an Anschluss Medal. It's very strange to hold something in your hands that has non-ironic, actual nazi symbols on it.


Can you post clear images front and back of the medal?  Someone reading this thread may be able to identify the medal for you.  




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