What Stars and Stripes Meant To Surviviors

June 14, 2020

In celebration of Flag Day, the Simon Wiesenthal Center is proud to share the Mauthausen flag, secretly sewn by inmates of the Mauthausen concentration camp in anticipation of their liberation by American forces. Not knowing the exact number of stars to affix, they sewed on 56 and waited for the American soldiers who, they prayed, might save them.

On May 5, 1945, their prayers were answered as U.S. military forces liberated Mauthausen and the inmates’ unique American flag was presented to their liberator, U.S. Army Colonel Richard Seibel (pictured above) of Defiance, Ohio. Siebel flew that flag over the liberated camp.

After the war, Colonel Siebel presented the flag to one of Mauthausen’s liberated inmates – Simon Wiesenthal, the renowned Nazi Hunter.

The Mauthausen Flag is on permanent display in “The Greatest Generation” case in the Museum of Tolerance.

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