Button from his military uniform given by a British soldier to a young Jewish refugee

Language of Description
Alt. Identifiers
  • 2005.379.13
Level of Description
  • English
EHRI Partner

Extent and Medium

overall: Height: 1.000 inches (2.54 cm) | Width: 1.000 inches (2.54 cm) | Depth: 0.380 inches (0.965 cm)


Biographical History

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 button was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2005 by Joseph Shadur.


United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Joseph Shadur

Scope and Content

Button with the Royal Coat of Arms which a British soldier pulled off his greatcoat and gave to 12 year old old Joseph Schadur on May 16, 1940, in Le Parcq, France. Joseph and his family had just fled Belgium following the Germany invasion.They stopped to consider their route in Le Parcq where they met a large number of British troops. When Joseph's father told one soldier that he was thinking of going toward Dunkirk on the coast, the soldier advised him to go south. He gave him gasoline saying that he did not need it since they were heading across the Channel. Joseph's father, Michel, left Germany in 1935 because the Nazi government's anti-Jewish policies were making it dangerous to live there. His wife, Manja, their 2 children, Joseph and his 4 year old sister, Benita, and his mother joined him in Antwerp, Belgium, in January 1936. After the Germans occupied Belgium in May 1940, the family was forced to flee once more. Traveling by private car, they eventually made their way to Lisbon, Portugal. They sailed for New York on board the SS Exeter on February 21, 1941.

Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions on access

Conditions Governing Reproduction

No restrictions on use

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Circular, copper alloy button. The front is convex with a raised design of the British Royal Coat of Arms: the shield of Great Britain, with a dexter crowned English lion on the left and a sinister Scottish unicorn on the right. Above the shield are the imperial crown and a statant guardant lion wearing the imperial crown at the top. The shield is encircled by an embossed banner, with a 2nd banner beneath the feet of the lion and unicorn. The back has a lug which goes through 2 holes in the center. There is English text around the border.



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.