- Brief Narrative
- Banknote acquired by the Taubmann family, valued at 250 rubles. The note was issued between 1918 and 1920, by the government of the Don Cossack province in Russia, prior to the Bolshevik occupation. Between 1917 and 1922, Russia became embroiled in civil war, fought largely between the Bolshevik Red Army and the oppositional White Army. The area of Ukraine, including Kiev, became a heavily-contested area. During the war, these notes were accepted currency among allies of the White Russians. The war and widespread antisemitism caused many Jews to emigrate from Russia during this time. Benjamin Taubmann (1902-1971) was born in Kiev, Russia (now Kyïv, Ukraine) to Jewish parents. In April 1931, Benjamin was living in Berlin, Germany, when he married Helene Schneidmann (1907-1996), who was born in Tver, Russia, near Moscow. The year after Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany, Benjamin and Helene’s daughter, Natalie (b. 1934) was born. After enduring several years of increasing persecution against Jews in Germany, the family decided to emigrate. Benjamin preceded his family, arriving in New York City on June 9, 1939. Helene and Natalie followed that winter, and arrived on December 21. In April 1943, Benjamin and Helene had another child, Paul (b. 1943). All four members of the family eventually relocated to Rhode Island, where Natalie settled with her husband, Robert Tortolani, and raised a family.
1918 September 04-1920 January
- Credit Line
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Natalie Taubmann Tortolani
- front, decorative frame corners, printed, green ink : 250
front, within rectangular arbor, printed, green ink : 250 РУБ [250 RUB]
front, top right corner, printed, black ink : 250 / РУБЛЕИ [250 / RUBLES]
front, top center, printed, black ink : ДВЂСТИ ПЯТЬДЕСЯТЪ / РУБЛЕИ [TWO FIFTY / RUBLES]
front, center, surrounding portrait, printed, black ink : ДОНСКОЙ ВОЙСКОВОЙ АТАМАНЪ / МАТВѢЙ ИВАНОВИЧЪ ПЛАТОВЪ [ DON MILITARY ATAMAN / MATVAY IVANOVICH PLATOV]
front, center, on plinth, printed, black ink : НАСТОЯЩІЙ ДЕНЕЖНЬІЙ ЗНАКЪ ВЫПУЩЕНЪ / РОСТОВСКОИ ⷰУД КОНТОРОН ГОСЧДАРСТВЕН- / НАГО БАНКА И ИМѢЕӀЪ ХОҖДЕНӀЕ НАРАВНѢ / СЪ ГОСУДАРСТВЕННЫМИ КРЕДИТНЫМИ / БИЛЕТАМК / 1918 [THE PRESENT MONEY ISSUED BY THE ROSTOV-ON-DON CONTROL OF THE STATE BANK OFFICE / AND THE NAME IS WORKING EQUAL / WITH STATE CREDIT TICKETS / 1918]
front, bottom left, printed, black ink : УПРАВЯІОШІЙ [illegible signature] CONTROL
front, bottom, printed, black ink : КАССИРЪ [illegible signature] CASHIER
front, bottom right, printed, black ink : АП-10
front, center, printed, black ink : АП-10
back, background, printed, orange ink : 250 [symbol] [repeating] / РУБ [symbol] [repeating] [250 / RUB]
back, center, printed, black ink : НАСТОЯЩІЙ ДЕНЕЖНЬІЙ ӠНАКЪ / ОБЯӠАТЕЛЕНЪ КЪ ПРІЕМУ ВЪ ПЛАТЕЖИ / ВСѢМИ ПРАВИТЕЛЬ СТВЕННЫМИ И ЧАСТНЫМИ / УЧРЕЖДЕНІЯМИ, А ТАКЖЕ ПРИ РАСЧЕТАХЪ / МЕЖДУ ЧАСТНЫМИ ЛИЦАМИ [THIS MONEY IS / OBLIGATORY TO BE ACCEPTED IN PAYMENTS / BY ALL GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATE / INSTITUTIONS, AND ALSO IN SETTLEMENTS / BETWEEN PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS]
back, center, bottom, printed, black ink : ПОДДѢЛКА ДЕНЕЖНЫХЪ ӠНАКОВЪ / ПРЕСЛѢДУЕТСЯ ӠАКОНОМЪ [COUNTERFEITING CASH / PROSECUTED BY LAW]
back, bottom left corner, printed, black ink : 250 / РУБЛЕИ [250 / RUBLES]
back, background, printed, green ink : 250 [symbol] [repeating] / РУБ [symbol] [repeating] [250 / RUB]
Benjamin Taubmann (1902-1971) was born in Kiev, Russia (now Kyïv, Ukraine) to Jewish parents, David and Sara Taubmann. Helene Schneidmann (1907-1996) was born to Michael and Katharina (Sophia) Schneidmann in Tver, Russia, near Moscow. Around this time, about one half of the world’s Jewry lived in Russia. Pogroms against Jews were frequent, as were oppressive laws and restrictions. From 1914-1922, Russia fought and was defeated in World War I, which ultimately led to an overthrown monarchy and a civil war. During this chaotic period, violent antisemitism was widespread and many Jews emigrated from Russia, or they were part of lands ceded after defeat in WWI. Benjamin was living in Berlin, Germany, when he married Helene in April 1931.
In January 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. Anti-Jewish decrees were soon passed that restricted every aspect of Jewish life. The following year, Benjamin and Helene’s daughter, Natalie (later Natalie Tortolani, b. 1934) was born in Berlin. After enduring several years of increasing persecution against Jews in Germany, the family decided to emigrate. Benjamin obtained an affidavit and sponsorship from Claude Bayless, a Purple Heart veteran of the US Army. Benjamin sailed alone from Hamburg aboard the SS Hansa, arriving in New York City on June 9, 1939. Helene and Natalie followed that winter aboard the SS Saturnia, which sailed from Genoa, Italy. They arrived in New York on December 21.
In the United States, Benjamin obtained a job at Minerva Art Ltd. in Manhattan, and Americanized their last name to Taubman. Later, the family moved to the Bronx and Benjamin became a self-employed painter. In April 1943, Benjamin and Helene had another child, Paul (b. 1943). In August 1945, Benjamin became a naturalized citizen. Helene became a citizen in December 1946, and Americanized her name to Helen. Natalie trained as a ballet dancer, and attended the High School of Performing Arts in New York City. All four members of the family eventually relocated to Rhode Island, where Natalie settled with her husband, Robert Tortolani, and raised a family.
- Object Type
National bank notes (lcsh)
- Physical Description
- Russian currency printed on lightweight, off-white, rectangular paper. The face of the bill features an off-centered, rectangular image to the left with three narrow margins and a wide margin to the right. The black, central image, has an oval portrait of Count Matveĭ Ivanovich Platov, sitting on a rectangular plinth containing several lines of Russian text and the year of issue. Flanking the portrait are two women, printed in black-and-white, wearing classical clothing. The woman on the left is holding a fasces with a double-headed axe, while the woman on the right is wearing a wreathed-and-crested helmet while holding a sword and a shield. They are seated on a low, dark green wall with the numeric denomination printed at each end with Russian text and signatures below. Extending above the wall is a rectangular arbor with decorative scroll and floral elements, with the numeric denominations in the corners, and a double-headed eagle at the center. Two lines of large, Russian text are printed in black between the eagle and portrait. The numeric denomination in the top right corner of the note. The design overlays a background of thin, orange lines, resembling an embossed pattern of the numeric denomination, with an oval frame in the wide margin. The revere has an off-centered, orange, rectangular façade to the right with three narrow margins and a large margin to the left. The façade has black accents with numerous botanical decorations and a wreathed double-headed eagle at the top. In the center is a large window containing several lines of Russian text. The numeric denomination flank the center window, and two lines of text below it. The wide, left margin also contains the numeric denomination. The design overlays a background of thin, green lines, resembling an embossed pattern of the Russian text and oval frame in the wide margin.
- overall: Height: 4.000 inches (10.16 cm) | Width: 7.250 inches (18.415 cm)
- overall : paper, ink
Rights & Restrictions
- Conditions on Access
- No restrictions on access
- Conditions on Use
- No restrictions on use
Keywords & Subjects
- Topical Term
- Americanization. Antisemitism--Germany. Emigration and immigration. Jewish families--Germany--Berlin. Russia--History--20th century. Soviet Union--History--Revolution, 1917-1921. World War, 1939-1945--Refugees.
- Geographic Name
- Berlin (Germany) Kyïv (Ukraine) New York (N.Y.) Rhode Island. Rostov-na-Donu (Russia) Tverʹ (Russia)
- Personal Name
- Platov, Matveĭ Ivanovich, graf, 1751-1818.
- Legal Status
- Permanent Collection
- The bank note was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2014 by Natalie Taubmann Tortolani, the daughter of Benjmain and Helene Taubmann.
- 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 18:34:17
- This page:
Also in Natalie Taubmann Tortolani family collection
The collection consists of a 1918 banknote, affidavits, documents, a ship ticket, and a photograph copy relating to the experiences of Helene and Benjamin Taubmann, and their daughter Natalie, in Berlin, Italy, and the United States before the Holocaust.
Documents, affidavits, passenger ship's ticket and copy photograph illustrating the experiences of Helene and Benjamin Taubmann and their daughter Natalie, who emigrated from Nazi-occupied Berlin to the United States in 1939. Ship's ticket for the Saturnia for Helene and Natalie dated December 1939. Affidavit of support provided by Claude Bayless of Los Angeles, CA.