Object: Medal with ribbon
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|Title||Medal with ribbon|
Unknown, 1995, Poland
|Materials||silver, enamel, silk|
|Credit line||Gift of Edward Mroczek, 1996|
This medal was awarded by the Polish Government to Edward Mroczek, a survivor of the Polish concentration camps, in 1995. The medal is in the form of a silver cross. The obverse is inset with "P" in an inverted red triangle, and has "1939-1945" inscribed across the arms. It is embossed with motifs of fences and barbed wire. On the reverse is "PRL WIEZNIOM HITLEROWSKICH OBOZOW KONCENTRACYJNYCH." The medal ribbon has vertical blue and white stripes.
Flossenbürg Concentration Camp
When World War Two broke out, Edward Mroczek joined the Polish Resistance: an underground anti-fascist resistance movement. At just fifteen years old, he was captured by the German Gestapo, sent to Auschwitz, and later transferred to Flossenbürg.
As the end of the war drew near, the Gestapo evacuated Flossenbürg and marched the prisoners towards another camp. After three days of marching they were liberated by American soldiers.
A New Life in New Zealand
Fearing for his life under communist rule, Edward did not return to Poland, but instead joined the British Merchant Navy. He travelled all over the world, and one voyage took him to Wellington. There he met Irena Niedzwiecka, a young Polish woman who had arrived in New Zealand in 1944 as a child refugee. The two wed in 1954, and they were married for more than sixty years. Edward died in 2015.
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