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Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp scrip, 2 kronen note

Object | Accession Number: 2011.447.5.2

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    Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp scrip, 2 kronen note
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    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Theresienstadt scrip, valued at 2 kronen, owned by Chana Bruder Perlroth during the Holocaust. It was issued in Theresienstadt (Terezin) ghetto-labor camp in 1943. All currency was confiscated from deportees upon entry and replaced with scrip and ration coupons that could be exchanged only in the camp. The currency was designed by inmate Peter Kien and printed by the National Bank of Prague. Inmates received the scrip according to a 5-tiered distribution system or as payment for conscript labor arranged by the Jewish Council of Elders who administered the daily life of the ghetto for the Germans. It is unclear what, if anything, could be purchased with the scrip, which was printed in great volume. The Germans had the scrip issued to instill a sense of normalcy within the huge ghetto. Theresienstadt camp, located in German occupied Czechoslovakia, existed for 3.5 years, from November 24, 1941 to May 9, 1945. Approximately 140,000 Jews were sent to Theresienstadt; nearly 90,000 were deported to near certain death in the east, and roughly 33,000 died, most of disease and starvation.
    Date
    issue:  1943 January 01
    Geography
    issue: Theresienstadt (Concentration camp); Terezin (Ustecky kraj, Czech Republic)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Hatikvah Holocaust Education Center
    Markings
    face, center, red ink : QUITTUNG ÜBER / ZWEI KRONEN / 2 / WER DIESE QUITTUNG VERFÄLSCHT ODER NACHMACHT / ODER GEFÄLSCHTE QUITTUNGEN IN VERKEHR BRINGT. / WIRD STRENGSTENS BESTRAFT [Receipt / of / TWO CROWNS / ANYONE WHO FALSIFIES OR DISTORTS OR FAKES THIS RECEIPT, OR COUNTERFEITS RECEIPT, WILL BE STRICTLY PUNISHED]
    face, lower right corner, red ink : 2
    reverse, upper left corner, plate mark, red ink : A013
    reverse, upper right corner, red ink : 2
    reverse, lower left corner, red ink : 2
    reverse, center, red ink : Quittung / über / ZWEI KRONEN / THERESIENSTADT, AM 1.JANNER 1943 DER ALTESTE DER JUDEN / IN THERESIENSTADT / Jakob Edelstein [Receipt / of / TWO CROWNS / THERESIENSTADT, ON 1. JANUARY 1943 THE ELDER OF THE JEWS IN THERESIENSTADT / Jakob Edelstein]
    Contributor
    Designer: Peter Kien
    Printer: National Bank of Prague
    Issuer: Der Alteste der Juden in Theresienstadt
    Biography
    Franz Peter Kien was born January 1, 1919, in Varnsdorf, Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic), to Leonard and Olga Frankl Kien. His father Leonard was born in 1886, in Varnsdorf, and was a member of the German-speaking Jewish population in the, the Sudetenalnd, which bordered Germany. Leonard was a textile manufacturer with his own factory. Peter’s mother Olga was born in 1898, in Bzenec, Austro-Hungary (Czech Republic), to Jewish parents. After 1929, the Kien family moved to Brno. Peter enrolled at the German Gymnasium, where he excelled at drawing, painting, and writing. In 1936, he graduated and moved to Prague to study at the Academy of Fine Arts. He also attended the Officina Pragensis, a private graphic design school run by a well-known Jewish artist, Hugo Steiner-Prag.

    On September 29, 1938, Germany annexed the Sudetenland. On March 15, 1939, Germany invaded Prague and annexed the Bohemia and Moravia provinces of Czechoslovakia, ruled by a Reich Protector. Jews were banned from participation in government, businesses, and organization, including schools. Peter had to leave the Academy, but continued to study at the Officina Pragensis. He also taught at Vinohrady Synagogue. In September 1940, Peter married Ilse Stranska, who was born on May 9, 1915, in Pilsen, to Jewish parents.

    In late September 1941, Reinhard Heydrich, the SS head of RSHA, Reich Main Security Office, became Reich Protector. Soon there were regular deportations of Jews to concentration camps. At the end of November, Theresienstadt concentration and transit camp near Prague got its first shipment of Jewish prisoners. On December 14, Peter was transported to Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp. He was assigned to the technical department where he worked as a draftsman and designer alongside other artists, including Bedrich Fritta, Leo Haas, and Jiri Lauscher. On July 16, 1942, Peter’s wife Ilse arrived in the camp. On January 30, 1943, Peter’s parents Leonard and Olga were transported from Bzenec to Terezin. Peter was assigned major projects by the Jewish Council that administered the camp for the Germans, such as the scrip receipts used in place of money in the camp. He secretly documented the inmate’s daily life, creating portraits and other drawings, and wrote plays, poems, and an operatic libretto. On October 16, 1944, Peter’s wife Ilse and his parents Leonard and Olga were selected for deportation. Peter volunteered to go with them. Before leaving, Peter and his family were sent to Auschwitz concentration camp in German-occupied Poland. Peter survived the selection process, soon fell ill, likely with typhus, and died at age 25 in late October 1944. His wife and parents were killed at Auschwitz. Some of the work that Peter left with other prisoners or hid at Theresienstadt survived and has been exhibited worldwide.

    Physical Details

    Language
    German German Hebrew
    Classification
    Exchange Media
    Category
    Money
    Object Type
    Scrip (aat)
    Physical Description
    Theresienstadt scrip printed on rectangular, offwhite paper with a graphic design on the face in black and red ink on a red patterned background. On the left is a medallion with an image of Moses holding 2 stone tablets with the 10 Commandments in Hebrew characters; to the right is the denomination 2 and German text. On the right side is a wide, offwhite border with the denomination 2 in the bottom corner below a 6-pointed Star of David. The reverse has a red geometric background design, German text, an engraved signature, and a scrollwork line. The denomination 2 is in the upper right corner. On the left side is a wide, off-white border with the denomination 2 in the lower corner below a 6-pointed Star of David. The plate letter and number A013 are in the upper left corner.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 2.125 inches (5.398 cm) | Width: 4.250 inches (10.795 cm)
    Materials
    overall : paper, ink

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The scrip was donated to the Hatikvah Holocaust Education Center by an unknown donor. It was transferred to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2011, following the closure of the Hatikvah Holocaust Education Center in Springfield, MA, in 2010.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 21:51:22
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn106402

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