Warsaw: Initial Star of David Armbands (November 1939)

Figure 1.--This Warsaw boy is selling Star of David armbands. The photograph is not dated, but was probably taken before the Ghetto was established. We would guess about December 1939 or January 1940. Notice that he is not wearing one, presunably he is not yet 10 years old.

NAZI officials ordered Warsaw Jews to wear white armbands with a blue Star of David so they could be easily identified (November 23, 1939). The order mat have cob\vered the entire Government General. This was about a year before Warsaw Jews were forced into the Ghetto. Men, women and children over 10 years of age were required to wear the arm bands. Jews found without them could be shot. The NAZI regulations about these badges varied from jurisdictions to jurisdiction and over time. In many cases they were Star of Davids sewn on to the front and back of outer garments. In Warsaw it was initiqlly the white and blue arm bands. In other areas of Poland such as Lodz it was yellow armbands. The NAZIs had discovered that in the process of supressing German Jews that an unanticipated problem was thst Jews were unexpectedly difficult to identify. They did not look like the cartoons in Julius Stricher's pornographic Der Strümer. Thus in planning how to deal with Jews in occupied countries it was decided to force them to wear these badges so they could more easily be identified. The speed with which this decree was issued, only 2 months after the occupation had begun tells you how the SS planners had carefully considered how to proceed before the invasion. These armbands were eventually replaced with sewn on badges. We are not sure, but this was probably because the armbands could be too easily removed or replaced, complicating enforcement.


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Created: 4:39 AM 8/21/2008
Last updated: 7:25 AM 4/6/2011