National Fascist Party of Italy (PNF) membership badge owned by Jewish female refugee from Nazi Germany

Language of Description
Alt. Identifiers
  • 2005.379.7
1 Jan 1931 - 31 Dec 1938
Level of Description
  • Italian
EHRI Partner

Extent and Medium

overall: Height: 0.750 inches (1.905 cm) | Width: 0.750 inches (1.905 cm) | Depth: 0.250 inches (0.635 cm)


Biographical History

Gitta Schadur was born on September 29, 1905, in Livengoff (Livani), Latvia, to Yeisef and Doba Schender Schadur (1868-1950). By the 1920s, the family had moved to Riga, where Gitta finished her secondary education. She had three siblings, Isaac, who died in 1916, Michal, born April 6, 1897, and Sonja, born 1903. In 1931, she moved to Berlin, Germany, with her mother. Her brother, Michal, and his wife, Manja, had emigrated there in 1927. Her sister, Sonja, also had settled there earlier and married a German Jew, Bernard Goldstein. With assistance Michel, who operated a wholesale fruit business, Gitta opened an exotic fruit and delicacies store, Valencia Garden, near the Bourse. The store was successful, and Gitta was able to travel frequently to Italy. She was a supporter of Mussolini and Fascism and, in the early 1930s, joined a Fascist group in Berlin, becoming its only Jewish member. After Hitler came to power in 1933, her store became a target for antisemitic protests. The windows were stoned and she was forced to paint, SARA, a name used to identify a Jewess, on her store windows. Gitta had to move to a less favorable location, and many of her customers felt pressured to stop buying from a Jewish owned business. Michel, then his family left for Belgium in 1935-36. After the Kristallnacht pogrom in November 9-10, 1938, Gitta was forced to close the store. Her brother-in-law, Bernard, was briefly imprisoned in Sachsenhausen concentration camp after Kristallnacht and Gitta helped him, her sister, and their three year old daughter, Janet, flee Germany illegally for Belgium. They were supported by HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) while in Belgium and during their immigration. Gitta was persecuted by her landlord, interrogated by the police, and went into hiding with some Italian friends. In August 1939, she obtained a visa for the United States and sailed from Antwerp, Belgium, on September 2, 1939. She settled in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she had relatives. She got a job in a factory and sent affidavits of support to family members who were still in Europe that made it possible for them to join her in the US. Sonja and her family obtained US visas in March 1940 and arrived soon afterwards. Michel and his family, along with their mother, arrived in February 1941. The family changed their last name to Shadur. Gitta passed away, age 74, in New York in December 1979.

Joseph Schadur was born on April 23, 1928, in Riga, Latvia, to Manja (Masha) Hasenson and Michel Schadur. His parents moved to Berlin, Germany, in 1927, shortly after their marriage on June 12, but his mother returned to Riga for Joseph’s birth to be with her family. He had one sister, Benita, born in Berlin in 1932. They were not a particularly religious family, and attended synagogue only on theJewish high holidays. His father worked in the wholesale fruit industry. He travelled widely and was fluent in several languages. Hitler came to power in 1933, and by 1935, Michel’s business began to decline due to antisemitic boycotts and restrictions. That year while in Belgium on business, Michel decided not to return to Germany. With much difficulty, Manja obtained temporary tourist visas and she and the children joined him in Belgium on January 1, 1936. Michel was able to re-establish his business. The children attended a Tachkemonia Orthodox Jewish kindergarten and boys’ school. Joseph later transferred to a private French school. They spent the summer months at a children’s home in Oostduinkerke, where they explored the dunes and the bulwarks that remained from World War I. In May 1940, Germany occupied Belgium, and the family had to flee once more. They left by private car and reached Bordeaux before the French surrender to Germany in late June. For seven months, they managed to get by in Bruges, a country village near Bordeaux. With the assistance of Joseph’s maternal aunt, Gitta, who had emigrated from Germany to the United States in 1939, they received immigration and transit visas. The family left for the Spanish border on December 14, 1940. After two month in Lisbon, Portugal, they sailed on the SS Exeter to New York on February 21, 1941. From there, they proceeded to St. Paul, Minnesota, where Gitta and other relatives had already settled. The family changed their last name to Shadur. Michel returned to Europe for a few years in the immediate postwar period to work for UNRRA, the United Nations Refugee Relief Association, chiefly at Backnang displaced persons camp. Joseph attended the University of Minnesota. In 1950, he moved to Israel where he married Yehudit, who would become an internationally recognized artist for her rediscovery of the art of Jewish paper cutting. Joseph passed away, age 77, in October 2005.

Archival History

The lapel pin was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2005 by Joseph Shadur, the nephew of Gitta Shadur.


United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Joseph Shadur

Scope and Content

Partito Nazionale Fascista [National Fascist Party] of Italy lapel pin worn by Gitta Schadur (later Shadur) in the 1930s when she was the only Jewish member of a Fascist group in Berlin, Germany. Gitta had emigrated from Latvia in 1931 and owned a successful exotic fruit and delicacies store in Berlin. Her frequents travels to Italy had led her to become a supporter of Mussolini. Shortly after the Nazis rose to power in Germany in 1933, her store became a target for anti-Semitic protests. Many of her customers felt pressured to stop patronizing a Jewish owned business. After the Kristallnacht pogrom in November 1938, she closed her store, managed to obtain a visa for the United States, and sailed from Belgium on September 2, 1939. Once settled in Minnesota, she was able to help other family members escape Nazi-dominated Europe.

Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions on access

Conditions Governing Reproduction

No restrictions on use

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Shield shaped, metal lapel pin with a die-cast, bronze colored fasces, a bundle of wooden sticks with a protruding axe blade, Italian Fascist Party symbol, attached to the center. The front has 3 enameled horizontal stripes: green, white, and red. There are 3 gold painted letters, P. N. F., on the top left and bottom left and right corners. The back has a safety pin closure glued to the center, and engraved Italian text.



This description is derived directly from structured data provided to EHRI by a partner institution. This collection holding institution considers this description as an accurate reflection of the archival holdings to which it refers at the moment of data transfer.