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Yellow Star

By: Becky Seitel
Survivor: Herzel, Max

For centuries, the Star of David has been a symbol of Jewish pride. But during World War II, Nazis used the star to segregate and terrorize the Jewish people.

Max Herzel recalls the period when Jews were forced to wear a yellow Star of David outlined in black. “Juif,” the French word for “Jew,” was written inside the star.

“The German government’s policy of forcing Jews to wear a badge was a tactic aimed at isolating us from the rest of the population,” he says. “It enabled the German government to identify, deprive, starve, and ultimately murder Jewish people.”

Inside concentration camps, triangular patches were used to identify prisoners. The patches included:

           Jew – yellow

           Gypsy – brown

           Homosexual – pink

           Asocial – black

           Political prisoner – red

The Asocial category was the most diverse, including prostitutes, vagrants, murderers, thieves, lesbians, and those who violated laws prohibiting sexual intercourse between Aryans and Jews. The word “Blod” on a black triangle marked mentally retarded inmates. For Jewish offenders, triangles of two different colors were combined to create a six-pointed star, one triangle yellow to denote a Jew, the second triangle another color to denote the added offense.