Antiques Roadshow expert details heartbreaking reason they can’t valuate WW2 medalFebruary 2, 2021
Antiques Roadshow: Mark Smith doesn’t value Holocaust medal
An owner of a World War Two medal and her daughter came along the Antiques Roadshow with their prized possession when the BBC show visited Newby Hall. Expert Mark Smith was lucky enough to valuate the item but was forced to admit he couldn’t put a price on the medal as he explained the heartbreaking origin of the piece.
Mark asked: “So I understand you have a mystery. You found something and you don’t know what it is. Where did you find it?”
The owner replied: “Unfortunately my mum passed away in February this year and while we were sorting out her things we came across the medal that belonged to my grandad Tommy, which was her father.
“So it’s all been a bit of a mystery because we couldn’t find out why he actually got the medal.”
Turning his attention to the owner’s daughter, Mark said: “Do you know anything about it?”
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“All I know is my great grandad Tommy used to travel to Austen quite a lot but aside from that nothing,” she answered.
“Did he go often like maybe once a year? Some sort of a reunion of some description,” Mark suggested.
“We believe so,” the owner shared and the expert explained: “So the medal you’ve got is a medal that was made in 1955 and that’s when he’s been given this.
“He’s not been awarded this. It’s been given to him as a present, it’s something that he does on a yearly basis as far as I can work out where he’s taking back old soldiers.
“And the group in Belgium he has affiliated himself with are a very rare group of people because they are concentration camps survivors.
“Now this is in Belgium in Breendonk just outside Brussels and like all other concentration camps it’s just as horrible.”
“It had two gas chambers, it had firing post to execute people, it had gallows to hang people and it had torture chambers and it’s still there,” Mark continued.
“Now your medallion is the 10th-anniversary medal for the liberation of concentration camps and they were given to people, Belgians who had been in concentration camps, so the medal you actually have on the front of it shows a prisoner wearing a concentration camp uniform.
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“But on the back, this bit in the middle is a triangle with a B and that is the badge that was sown on the concentration camp uniform to show that you were Belgian, it could have a P for Polish.
“And the colour indicated what you were actually in the prison camp for so if the triangle is yellow you’re Jewish, if it’s black you’re a political prisoner, if it’s pink it’s a homosexual, it’s a terrible regime.”
“Now in 1955 a programme was started to record the names of everyone who perished in the Holocaust and they’re still doing it today,” the expert revealed.
“I think they’re up to about four and a half million names now but that’s when it started and I have a feeling that’s what this is for.
“You have this photograph here and this is the man who gave him the medal and it’s actually signed that he was in the underground forces, part of the resistance movement and he was also in a concentration camp.
“Now we always give you a valuation of the Antiques Roadshow,” he added.
“But we don’t give valuations to Holocaust things because there is no price you can put on what someone went through to be awarded that medal.
“So I can’t tell you what it’s worth but now you know what it is, I hope you think it was worthwhile coming to the Antiques Roadshow.”
Antiques Roadshow continues on BBC One on Sunday at 8pm.
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