Halifax woman discovers two jackets she believes may date back to a Holocaust concentration camp
HALIFAX -- A woman from Halifax has come across some wardrobe items that she believes may be connected to the Holocaust.
Laura McNutt owns a vintage clothing store. Along with that, McNutt is quite active in the Nova Scotia film and television industry, supplying wardrobe for various productions.
"I have the goods for contemporary and vintage shows," said McNutt.
In order to keep adding to her collection, McNutt often buys wardrobes from productions that have wrapped up.
Recently, McNutt purchased two jackets that were from the Amazon Prime series 'The Man in the High Tower,' which was shot in Vancouver.
She says the jackets stood out to her because they were different from other garments.
"I was guessing it was a military jacket for a submarine or something confined, or an aircraft. When I looked inside for any kind of origin markings, there was just two words, 'BETR RA,'" explained McNutt.
McNutt was determined to find more information. After some research, she discovered she may have two Panzer Wrap jackets from the Second World War German army.
"I'm not an expert by any means but I became so totally immersed," said McNutt.
McNutt says she eventually came across a possible origin for the coats – one that she still finds disturbing today.
"When I looked up what this 'BETR RA' referenced, I learned that it was made in a concentration camp," said McNutt.
According to McNutt, 'RA' is a reference to Ravensbrück – a women's-only concentration camp that was located just north of Berlin.
It's estimated 132,000 women were held at Ravensbrück between 1939 and 1945. They were forced to work in the concentration camp, often making clothing.
"The stories within it were so much more than a vintage business or my little life," said McNutt. "I was overwhelmed and was nervous about whom I could confide."
McNutt feels confident the jackets she now owns are the originals, but is still looking for help to confirm they are authentic. She says she'd also like help deciding what to do with them.
"I would love to have some counsel. I want to find a respectful, honourable depository or museum," said McNutt.
McNutt says she has reached out to some museums but a decision has yet to be made on where the jackets will, or should end up.