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Unused Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp food ration coupon kept by a Dutch Jewish child

Object | Accession Number: 2010.129.1

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    Brief Narrative
    Ration coupon issued to Otto Eisner while imprisoned in the Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp. It was acquired by 9 year old Hanan Kisch who was an inmate of the camp from September 1944 to June 1945. All currency was confiscated upon entry and replaced with scrip and ration coupons that could be exchanged only in the camp. In May 1940, Germany occupied the Netherlands. Hanan, his parents, Ina and Izaak, his brother, Eldad, 7 years, and his 15 year old foster sister, Hildagard Schloss, were initially exempt from deportation because Izaak was on the Jewish Council. But in September 1943, they were sent to Westerbork transit camp, and, in September 1944, to Theresienstadt. The family was permitted to stay together and not separated by gender, and when Ina became head of the Dresden Barracks, they received a private room. The camp was liberated by the Soviet Army in May 1945 and returned to Amsterdam in June.
    received:  1944 September-1945 June
    issue: Theresienstadt (Concentration camp); Terezin (Ustecky kraj, Czech Republic)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Hanan Kisch
    front, upper right, vertical, printed in black ink : ESSENKARTE / SORCFÄLTIC AUFBEWAHREN [FOOD STORE CARD]
    front, left center, vertical, printed in black and white ink : ACB
    front, center, printed in black ink and stamped in dark blue ink : № 223206 (stamp)
    front, right center, printed in black ink : VERPFLEGS - EINHEIT [ADDITIONAL FOOD UNIT]
    front, center, printed in black ink and handwritten in black ink and stamped in purple ink : BL. / HS. (Roman numeral) HV / ZR. 03 / MON. JUNI (stamp)
    front, lower center, printed in black ink and handwritten in black ink : EISNER OTTO (handwritten) / TR. (Roman numeral) XVI/y / 59 (handwritten)
    front, lower left, vertical, printed in black ink : IST IHRE ESSENKARTE / RICHTIG GESCHNITTEN? [IS YOUR FOOD CARD PROPERLY CUT?]
    Subject: Hanan J. Kisch
    Subject: Otto Eisner
    Hanan Kisch was born on July 25, 1935, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Izaak and Ina Mathilda Houthakker Kisch. Izaak was born on November 23, 1905, in Amsterdam, to Hartog, born on April 9, 1870, and Rebekka Spitz Kisch, born on September 8, 1869. Ina was born on April 10, 1908, in Amsterdam, to Bernard Houthakker, born on September 24, 1884. Hanan was the eldest of 2 brothers: Eldad, born on April 16, 1937, in Amsterdam, and Ilan, born on May 23, 1946. Izaak was a lawyer and a lecturer at the University of Amsterdam. Ina was trained as a lawyer, but did not practice; she was active in Jewish communal affairs. The family was affluent and lived in a canal house. They had a live in maid and a governess. Hanan’s paternal grandparents were observant Jews, but Hanan’s family was not religious. However, they observed the Jewish holidays and were active Zionists. Hanan and his brother, Eldad, attended public school and started studying Hebrew at age 6.

    On May 10, 1940, Germany occupied the Netherlands. The Amsterdam Jewish Council [Joodse Raad] was established in February 1941 and Izaak was elected a member. He resigned in September 1941 because of suspicions that the Council members were collaborating with the German authorities. In November 1941, Izaak was dismissed from his position at the university for being Jewish. Around this time, the family gave refuge to a German Jewish adolescent, Hildagard Schloss, born in 1928, in Gelsenkirschen, Germany. She had been sent by her parents to escape Nazi Germany. Hildagard stayed with the family as a foster child. Under the German occupation, Jews were segregated from the general Dutch population. Hanan and Eldad’s school was segregated, and Jewish students had to attend separate classes and enter through the rear entrance using a different staircase.

    In July 1942, the Germans began mass deportations of Jews to extermination camps in occupied Poland. In December 1942, Izaak and his family, including Hildagard, were added to a list with approximately 700 other prominent Jews in the community, including artists, physicians, scientists, and industrialists, authorizing them to move to a camp in the town of Barneveld. K.J. Frederiks, Secretary General of the Ministry of the Interior, had intervened with the Germans to protect a number of “well deserving Jews” from deportation. Hanan’s paternal and maternal grandparents were sent to Barneveld. Everyone on the list had to live at Barneveld, but Izaak functioned as a liaison between the camp and the authorities, so his family was exempt from living there. Hanan’s paternal grandfather, Hartog Kisch, died in the camp, but he was allowed to be buried in Muiderberg, the Jewish cemetery, in Amsterdam. In July 1943, Izaak received a letter ordering the family to move to the Jewish quarter in eastern Amsterdam by August 6, 1943.

    On September 29, 1943, the Germans launched a raid to seize all Jews in Amsterdam, so that the city could be declared “free of Jews.” The family was picked up by the Dutch police and deported to Westerbork transit camp. On the same day, the Germans cleared Barneveld in violation of their agreement with Frederiks, and Hanan’s grandparents were sent to Westerbork. The family retained some protective status in the camp. Hanan and Eldad attended school. Ina fell ill with pleurisy and had to stay in the hospital for an extended period, so Hanan and Eldad were moved to the orphanage. After their mother recovered, they were sent on September 13, 1944, on the last transport leaving Westerbork, for Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp in Czechoslovakia. Hanan and Eldad lived with their parents in the camp. Ina worked splitting mica in the industry workshop. Izaak worked in the library organizing the books that had arrived with the deportees or confiscated from Jewish libraries in Czechoslovakia. There were no schools in the camp; Hanan and Eldad often spent their free time searching for belongings left behind by deportees to Auschwitz concentration camp, as well as coal and potatoes. The family was moved later to a private room because Ina became head of the Dresden Barracks #H5 [Dresdner Kaserne].

    On May 8, 1945, Theresienstadt was liberated by the Soviet Army. The family remained in the camp for 6 weeks. With French assistance, they were transferred to the Dobrany displaced persons camp near Pilsen, Czechoslovakia, in the temporary American zone. They returned to the Netherlands on United States DC-3s in June 1945, and were able to move back into their former house in Amsterdam. Hanan’s paternal grandmother and maternal grandparents returned after the war. Their foster child, Hildagard Schloss, was briefly interned as an enemy alien upon her return to the Netherlands, but later rejoined the family. She learned that the majority of her family was alive, except her mother, and she joined them in the United States. Izaak was appointed a professor at the university. Ina served as chairperson of the Jewish Home [De Joodse Invalide] and WIZO. She died in August 1949, age 41. Izaak was appointed Justice of the High Court of the Netherlands in 1960, but resigned after 2 years to resume his professorship. Izaak died in 1980, age 75.

    Eldad studied at the University of Amsterdam and became a doctor. He emigrated to Israel in 1962. He married Annelien Kroon and had 3 children. Her parents, Henrietta and Kleys Kroon, were recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations for hiding Jews during the war. Hanan studied at the University of Amsterdam. He married Guurtje Heringa in 1962 and had 3 children. They emigrated to Israel in 1973. Hanan became a professor of geology.
    Otto Eisner was interned in Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp during the Holocaust.

    Physical Details

    Exchange Media
    Object Type
    Ration cards (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Rectangular, light brown cardstock coupon card. The front has printed graphics with German text in black ink and is designed with 3 sections: the upper and lower thirds are divided into 8 columns and 4 rows with numbers; 1-8 and 17-24 in the lower, and 9-16 and 25-31 with the letter D in the upper, printed twice in alternating black and white ink; the center section has entry boxes and lines with stamps and handwritten text in black ink. In the center is a number stamp in dark blue ink; in the right center is a stamped image of 2 tunnels; below this is a month stamp in purple ink. The coupons are unused; a box would have been clipped off for use.
    overall: Height: 5.500 inches (13.97 cm) | Width: 4.000 inches (10.16 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 ration coupon was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2010 by Hanan Kisch.
    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:
    2023-07-10 10:39:23
    This page:

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