In August 2022, staff in the curatorial Division of Work and Industry discovered the provenance for this and other identified objects as, related to Nazi-era activities. Keywords included “distressed shipment,” “1940,” and “Germany.” Upon this discovery, staff reached out to partner organizations in Washington, D.C. and Germany to identify previous owners and better understand the nature of the transactions. Efforts to identify the original owners and contact next of kin are ongoing. These objects were shipped from Germany in March of 1940 aboard the Deutschland and were seized in New York City by U.S. Customs where they were “voluntarily abandoned” by the receiver due to insufficient documentation. They were subsequently transferred to the Smithsonian Institution in May of 1940. Curators at the time reached out to the intended recipient for further information, with no reply.

Location: Currently not on view

See more items in: Work and Industry: Mechanisms


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: ME.335921Catalog Number: 335921Accession Number: 156484

Object Name: Key

Physical Description: metal, iron (overall material)


Record Id: nmah_850520

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