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Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp scrip, 20 kronen note

Object | Accession Number: 1990.23.199

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    Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp scrip, 20 kronen note

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Theresienstadt scrip, valued at 20 (zwanzig) kronen, acquired by Flory Cohen Levi, who survived in hiding in her native Netherlands during the war. This type of scrip was distributed in Theresienstadt (Terezin) ghetto-labor camp from May 1943-April 1945 in German occupied Czechoslovakia. Flory met Felix Levi, a refugee from Hitler's Germany, in the mid-1930s. After Germany invaded Poland, Felix convinced Flora to flee. In November 1939, they sailed for South America aboard the SS Simon Bolivar, which was sunk by German mines. They were rescued by the British military and taken to a hospital in England. After recuperating for six months, they had to leave because Felix, a German, was considered an enemy alien. In May 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands. Flora and Felix went into hiding in June 1942 in the home of Piet Brandsen, a resistance member. They married while in hiding. In September 1942, Flora's mother Alijda was deported to Auschwitz, where she was killed. After Piet was arrested in January 1944, they found refuge with Hank Hornsveld and family. The Netherlands was liberated in May 1945. The couple emigrated to America in 1948 on the SS Nieuw Amsterdam.
    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 Felix and Flory Van Beek and their Estate
    Markings
    front, center, green ink : QUITTUNG ÜBER / ZWANZIG KRONEN / 20 / WER DIESE QUITTUNG VERFÄLSCHT ODER NACHMACHT / ODER GEFÄLSCHTE QUITTUNGEN IN VERKEHR BRINGT. / WIRD STRENGSTENS BESTRAFT [ [RECEIPT OF / TWENTY CROWNS 20 ANYONE WHO FALSIFIES OR DISTORTS OR FAKES THIS RECEIPT, OR COUNTERFEITS RECEIPT, WILL BE STRICTLY PUNISHED]
    reverse, upper left, serial number, red ink : 006305
    reverse, right, lower right, series number, red ink : H
    reverse, center, green ink : Quittung / über / ZWANZIG KRONEN [Receipt / of / TWENTY CROWNS]
    reverse, lower center, black ink : THERESIENSTADT, AM 1.JANNER 1943 DER ALTESTE DER JUDEN / IN THERESIENSTADT Jakob Edelstein [THERESIENSTADT, ON 1. JANUARY 1943 THE ELDER OF THE JEWS IN THERESIENSTADT]
    Contributor
    Subject: Mrs. Flory Van Beek
    Subject: Mr. Felix Van Beek
    Printer: National Bank of Prague
    Designer: Peter Kien
    Issuer: Der Alteste der Juden in Theresienstadt
    Biography
    Flora Cohen was born on December 3, 1914, in Rotterdam, Netherlands, to Abraham and Alijda (Aleida) Van Beek Cohen. Flora had three older siblings, Izak (1900-1965), Salomon (1904-1981), and Elisabeth (1906-1996), and two siblings who died before she was born, Moses (1901-1901), and Rosina (1902-1903). Flora’s father Abraham was born on January 23, 1874, in Rotterdam, to Isaac and Elizabeth van Lier Cohen. Flora’s mother Alijda was born on July 23, 1880, in Amersfoort, to Mozes Hartog and Rozina (Annegje) Van Esso Van Beek. Alijda had two sisters: Roosje (Rosa) (1876-1939), and Flora (1878-1943). Alijda and Abraham were married on October 11, 1899. When Flora was 5 years old, Abraham died on May 6, 1920. The family moved to Amersfoort to be closer to Alijda’s family. They were Orthodox and Flora attended services on Friday nights with her grandfather. She attended grammar school, where she learned three languages. After her grandparents died, Flora’s family moved to Amsterdam, then Rotterdam, where they had other relatives, including Flora’s paternal grandmother. In the 1930’s, many German Jewish refugees fled to the Netherlands after Hitler rose to power in 1933. Flora met Felix Levi, a German Jewish refugee who was born on May 2, 1912, in Sennfeld, Germany, to Maier and Jette Aufhauser Levi. He worked for an international import-export grain business.

    Germany annexed Austria in March 1938 and invaded Czechoslovakia in March 1939 and Poland in September 1939. Felix believed that the Germans would invade the Netherlands. His company offered to send him to their offices in South America. Felix offered to take Flora with him to save her life. On November 17, 1939, Flora and Felix sailed on the SS Simon Bolivar. The next day, the ship was hit with two German mines and sunk. It was the first neutral ship to be destroyed by the Germans. Flora and Felix were severely injured and were rescued by a British destroyer. They were brought to Harwich, England, where they recuperated in military hospitals. Felix was a German citizen and was not allowed to stay in England. He wanted to continue to South America, but Flora wanted to return home. In April 1940, Flora and Felix returned to Rotterdam. Felix booked passage on another Dutch ship, which would sail to South America on May 11. On May 10, Germany invaded the Netherlands. After the SS arrived, they began implementing anti-Semitic restrictions. All Jews living on the coast, including Rotterdam, had to move inward. Flora and Alijda returned to Amersfoort. In the fall, they had to turn over their radios, jewelry, gold, and other valuables. In September 1941, they were not allowed to go to public places, including the zoo and parks. They were eventually forbidden from using the train and going into stores. In 1942, the SS led them to believe that they could immigrate to Cuba. They paid for it but never received visas. In January, they were issued identification cards stamped with a J for Jew. Beginning in May, they had to wear Star of David badges. In summer 1942, German authorities began arresting and deporting Jews. Flora’s mother Alijda was taken and her siblings were missing.

    In June, Flora got a summons to report to the train station. On her way there, she was stopped by Piet Brandsen, a Christian who was active in the resistance movement. He offered to hide Flora in his home in Amersfoort. She told him about Felix, so Piet found him and brought him to the home. Piet got false papers for the couple under the names Johannes Jacobus van Ophuizen and Hendrika Helmina Gejtenbeek. Piet insisted that they be married before they could hide in a room together, so he found a rabbi. The rabbi gave Piet seven Hebrew words and told him that if Flora and Felix repeated them, they would be married. Piet could only remember two of the words but married Flora and Felix on July 9. They hid in a small room upstairs and could not come downstairs during the day. In the fall, they received a farewell letter from Flora’s mother, written on September 7. She had been taken to Amsterdam, then sent to Westerbork transit camp. She knew she was going to be deported and believed she would not survive. Piet helped look for Alijda and went to Westerbork, where he learned that she had been sent to Poland. Flora and Felix eventually got involved with the resistance. Felix could pass as a German soldier, so Piet got him a Dutch mailman’s uniform and added insignia to make it look like a German uniform. They listened to BBC broadcasts on a radio, then Felix spread notes from the broadcasts. Flora typed food coupons and the resistance newspaper, Het Parool, which included lists of names of reliable Dutch citizens who could be trusted to hide Jews. Flora dyed her hair blonde and would sometimes leave the house to distribute the news on a bicycle.

    On January 21, 1944, the Gestapo came to arrest Piet. They searched the house, but did not look upstairs and did not find the couple. Felix and Flora decided to leave so they did not endanger Piet’s family. They looked for Jacobus and Gezina van der Hoevens, who were hiding Felix’s sister and mother. Jacobus could not take them in because he was already hiding several Jews. He gave them the name of Hank Hornsveld, who would most likely hide them. Flora and Felix walked to the Hornsveld family home on the outskirts of town, with Felix wearing his fake German uniform. The Hornsveld family agreed to let them to stay. Flora and Felix had to stay upstairs because the family had a wood business downstairs with employees. There was a severe food shortage in winter 1943, so Flora, Felix, the Hornsvelds, and their neighbors stole grain from a German silo. When the Allied forces parachuted into the area in September 1944, Flora and Felix thought they were liberated, but the Allies were pushed back by the Germans. In January 1945, Flora, Felix, and the Hornsveld family were ordered to leave the house by German soldiers and evacuated to Soest. Flora and Felix had to leave behind their false papers. They were eventually able to return to Amersfoort in a circus wagon. The Netherlands was liberated on May 5, 1945.

    Flora and Felix went to Amsterdam, then Rotterdam, and were eventually legally married. Flora learned that many of her relatives perished in the Holocaust. Flora’s mother Alijda was deported to Auschwitz concentration camp or Sobibor extermination camp in September 1942, where she was killed. Her paternal uncle Salomon and his wife Sophie, and her paternal uncle Charles and his wife Betsie were killed in a concentration camp. Her maternal uncle Jacob Coster, Rosa’s husband, her maternal aunt Flora, and Flora’s husband Jules Frank were most likely killed in May 1943 in Sobibor. Flora was reunited with her three siblings. Izak and Elisabeth survived in hiding with Christian families. Salomon escaped to Spain and enlisted in the British Army. Flora and Felix decided to immigrate to the United States. On April 27, 1948, Flora and Felix arrived in New York on the SS Nieuw Amsterdam. They settled in Los Angeles and changed their names to Felix and Flory Astrid Van Beek, adopting Alijda’s maiden name. Flory worked at an attorney’s office. Felix worked a variety of jobs until the couple opened a furniture store in 1968. They remained in close contact with the Brandsen and Hornsveld families and helped Hank Jr. and Burt Hornsveld immigrate to California. In 1954, Felix and Flory adopted a son, who died at age 16 of cancer. Felix, 97, died on January 26, 2010, in Newport Beach, California. Flory, 95, passed away on June 30, 2010.
    Felix Levi was born on May 2, 1912, in Sennfeld, Germany, to Maier and Jette Aufhauser Levi. He had several siblings, including two brothers and a sister, Nelli. His mother Jette was born on April 7, 1875, in Hainsfarth, Germany, to Samuel and Babette Munster Aufhauser.

    In January 1933, Hitler came to power in Germany and by summer, the Nazi dictatorship was established. Felix and his family fled Germany and settled in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Felix got a job with an international grain import-export business. He met Flora Cohen, who was born on December 3, 1914, in Rotterdam, Netherlands, to Abraham and Alijda (Aleida) Van Beek Cohen. After Germany annexed Austria in March 1938, invaded Czechoslovakia in March 1939, and attacked Poland in September 1939. Felix believed that Germany would invade the Netherlands. His company offered to send him to their offices in South America. Felix offered to take Flora with him to save her life. On November 17, 1939, they sailed on the SS Simon Bolivar. The next day, the ship hit two German mines and sunk; the first neutral ship destroyed by the Germans. Flora and Felix were severely injured. They were rescued by a British destroyer and taken a military hospital in Harwich, England. After they recovered, Felix, as a German citizen, was not allowed to stay in England. He wanted to continue to South America, but Flora wanted to return home. In April 1940, they returned to Rotterdam. Felix booked passage on another Dutch ship, sailing to South America on May 11. But on May 10, Germany invaded and it could not depart. The occupation government, under SS auspices, implemented anti-Jewish restrictions. All Jews living on the coast, including Rotterdam, had to move inland. In the fall, they had to turn over radios, jewelry, gold, and other valuables. On November 11, Felix’s family business was taken over by the government, as Jews could no longer operated businesses and he was fired. Curfews were imposed and they were banned from stores. In January 1942, they were issued identification cards stamped with a J for Jew. Beginning in May, they had to wear Star of David badges. In summer 1942, German authorities began arresting and deporting Jews to concentration and labor camps in the east. People could be taken from anywhere, at any time, even from operating tables. Felix’s mother Jette was undergoing an operation. The hospital was warned by that German police were coming, and the doctors released Jette. She was found in an alley in very poor condition and saved a Dutch Christian.

    In summer 1942, Felix went into hiding with Piet Brandsen, a Dutch Christian active in the resistance. Flora was already in hiding with Piet and she asked him to find Felix. Piet also arranged for Felix’s sister and their mother to go into hiding with a family in Amersfoort. Piet got false papers for Felix and Flora under the names Johannes Jacobus van Ophuizen and Hendrika Helmina Gejtenbeek. He insisted that they be married if they wished to hide in a room together. He found a rabbi, who have gave Piet seven Hebrew words and told him that if Flora and Felix repeated them, they would be married. Piet remembered only two of the words but on July 9, he married the couple. They hid in a small upstairs room and could not come downstairs during the day. They eventually got involved with the resistance. Felix could pass as a German soldier, and Piet got him a Dutch mailman’s uniform and added insignia to make it look like a German uniform. They illegally listened to BBC radio broadcasts, and Felix shared the news with others. Flora typed food coupons and the newspaper of the resistance, Het Parool.

    On January 21, 1944, the Gestapo came to the house to arrest Piet. They searched the house, but did not look upstairs and did not find the couple. Felix and Flora decided to leave so they did not endanger Piet’s family. They looked for Jacobus and Gezina van der Hoevens, who were hiding Felix’s sister and mother. Jacobus could not take them in because he was already hiding several Jews. He gave them the name of Hank Hornsveld, who would likely hide them. Flora and Felix walked to the Hornsveld family home on the outskirts of town, with Felix wearing his fake German uniform. The Hornsveld family agreed to let them to stay. Flora and Felix had to stay upstairs because the family had a wood business downstairs with employees. There was a severe food shortage in winter 1943, and Flora, Felix, the Hornsvelds, and their neighbors stole grain from a German silo. When Allied forces parachuted into the area in September 1944, Flora and Felix thought they were liberated, but the Allies were pushed back by the Germans. During winter 1944, Felix was very ill; the Hornsveld sons, Hank Junior and Bertus, were able to get him milk and eggs from a farm. In January 1945, Flora, Felix, and the Hornsveld family were ordered to leave the house by German soldiers and evacuated to Soest. Flora and Felix had to leave behind their false papers. They later returned to Amersfoort in a circus wagon. The Netherlands was liberated on May 5, 1945.

    Flora and Felix went to Amsterdam, then Rotterdam, and were eventually legally married. They learned that Flora’s mother and most of her extended family had perished, although her siblings survived. Two of Felix’s brothers lived in New York and encouraged the couple to immigrate to the United States. On April 27, 1948, the couple arrived in New York on the SS Nieuw Amsterdam. They settled in Los Angeles and changed their names to Felix and Flory Astrid Van Beek, adopting Alijda’s maiden name. Flory worked at an attorney’s office. Felix worked a variety of jobs until the couple opened a furniture store in 1968. They remained in close contact with the Brandsen and Hornsveld families and helped Hank Jr. and Burt Hornsveld immigrate to California. In 1954, Felix and Flory adopted a son, who died at age 16 of cancer. Felix, 97, died on January 26, 2010.
    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 Hebrew
    Classification
    Exchange Media
    Category
    Money
    Object Type
    Scrip (aat)
    Physical Description
    Theresienstadt scrip printed on rectangular, watermarked, offwhite paper in black and green ink. On the face is a vignette with an image of Moses, a bearded man with a wrinkled brow, holding 2 stone tablets with the 10 Commandments in Hebrew. To the right is the denomination 20 and German text. The background rectangle has a diamond latticework design. On the right side is a wide, offwhite border with 20 in the bottom corner below a Star of David. The reverse has a background rectangle of wavy, interlocked ovals with a central yellow streak, overprinted with German text, an engraved signature, and a scrollwork line. The denomination 20 is in the upper right corner. On the left side is a wide offwhite border with 20 in the bottom corner below a Star of David in a lined circle. The serial number in red ink is in the upper left corner. The series letter in red ink is on the lower right. It is worn, creased, and stained.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 2.625 inches (6.668 cm) | Width: 5.250 inches (13.335 cm)
    Materials
    overall : paper, ink

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The scrip was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1989 by Felix and Flory van Beek.
    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 18:21:21
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn3130

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