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20 Reichsmark banknote found during postwar reconstruction

Object | Accession Number: 2007.477.8

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    20 Reichsmark banknote found during postwar reconstruction

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    Brief Narrative
    Banknote found by 14 year old Diane Keeley and her siblings in the home in Nuremburg, Germany, where her family lived from 1949-1953. The home had been expropriated from a German man suspected of being a Nazi by the United States Army for use by its personnel. Diane's father was an American civilian employee sent to Germany in January 1946 as part of the army of occupation. The children had been told to never go to the basement and disturb the previous occupant's belongings. However, one day, the girls decided to explore the area and they took some items as souvenirs.
    found:  1949-1953
    found: Nuremberg Stadium; Nuremberg (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Diane Keeley
    face, brown banner on left, written perpendicular to bottom : 20 Reichsmark
    face, center : Zwanzig / Reichsmark / Ausgegeben auf Geund der Derordnung / über Reichskreditkaffen. / hauptoerwaltung / der Reichskreditkaffen [Issued by...]
    face, serial number : H•2739129
    face, title in frame : Dürer:DerBaumeifter
    face, green banner under frame : 20 RM
    back, center : Zwanzig Reichsmark / Geldfülfchung wird mit Zuchthaus beftraft
    Distributor: Deutsche Reichsbank
    Subject: Diane Keeley
    Diane Keeley was the daughter of James E. Keeley Sr., one of the first American civilian employees stationed in Germany, in January 1946, as part of the United States Army of occupation. The rest of the family, Diane, her mother, older brother, and two younger sisters, followed in June 1949 and lived first in Bad Neuheim and then Nuremberg. They lived in a large home of 26 rooms at 169 Am Maxfield Strasse near Linde Stadium, which had been expropriated by the US Army. The house was previously owned by Herr Frank, who now lived down the street in a much more humble dwelling. Diane's father repaired the war damage to the house, including bullet holes in the facade and the hole in the roof where a bomb had fallen during the siege of Nuremberg. Diane's mother invited Herr and Frau Frank to the home and invited them to take what they wanted from the fruit trees in the yard. According to the maid, Herr Frank was a Nazi and had coordinated Nazi activities in the neighborhood during the war. The Keeley children were taught to respect the Frank home and never to go down to the basement and disturb Herr Frank’s things. Diane's family returned to the United States in January 1953. She later became a history teacher.

    Physical Details

    Exchange Media
    Physical Description
    Offwhite paper bank note with a face design with a rectangle with a decorative background and border in green, red, and brown ink with the watermarked denomination 20 in the center. On the left is a brown bar with the denomination printed vertically. On the bottom left is a Nazi seal, with an eagle facing left, holding a wreath with a swastika in the center, printed in brown ink. Embossed at the bottom right center is the same Nazi seal with eagle. In the upper right corner, in a rectangular frame, is a male figure, facing right and holding an architect’s tool. Below the portrait in the bottom right corner is the denomination within a green band. On the reverse is a decorative background and border in green, red, and brown ink. The medallion in the center has a columned facade and a 3-horsed chariot on top. Riding the chariot is a man with a shield and spear. The denomination is on either side of the center medallion.
    overall: Height: 6.125 inches (15.558 cm) | Width: 3.125 inches (7.938 cm)
    overall : paper, ink

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The 20 Reichsmark banknote was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2007 by Diane Keeley.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 21:57:03
    This page:

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