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Auschwitz concentration camp scrip type 3, .50 Reichsmark, received by a Polish Jewish inmate

Object | Accession Number: 2010.191.4

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    Auschwitz concentration camp scrip type 3, .50 Reichsmark, received by a Polish Jewish inmate

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Type 3 Auschwitz scrip, valued at .50 Reichsmark, received by Chaim Hollander when he was imprisoned in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Scrip was issued in the camps as a means of improving worker productivity. After Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, Chaim and his family went into hiding. In August 1942, they were deported from Sosnowiec to the Srodula ghetto. After his wife and two young daughters were deported, Chaim escaped the ghetto and lived under a false identity until he was betrayed and deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau in December 1943. He found Fajwal there and they were transferred together to Sachsenhausen. Later they were deported to Mauthausen and then Ebensee, where they were liberated by the US Army on May 6, 1945. Chaim relocated to Belgium, where he had relatives. He heard from a neighbor that his wife was seen in Auschwitz, but was killed there.
    Date
    issue:  1944 August
    received:  1943 December-1944 January
    Geography
    issue: Auschwitz (Concentration camp); Oświęcim (Poland)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Lydia Hollander
    Markings
    front, top, printed in bold, black ink : Prämienschein über RM. - .50 [Premiums note for RM. - .50]
    front, top, underlined, printed in black ink : Konzentrationslager Auschwitz [Auschwitz concentration camp]
    front, lower left corner, printed in black ink : KL/100 - 8. 44/500.000
    Contributor
    Subject: Chaim Hollander
    Biography
    Chaim Hollander was born on April 20, 1906, in Dabrowa Tarnowska, Poland, to an Orthodox Jewish family. He had three brothers, Fajwal, Paul, and Adolf and four sisters. Chaim settled in Sosnowiec and owned a prosperous wholesale textile business. He married Frita (?) and they had two daughters, Rushkal (?), born 1933, and Lushka (?), born 1938.
    Germany invaded Poland in September 1, 1939, and Chaim’s business was confiscated because he was Jewish. As persecutions of Jews increased, the family went into hiding in a pastor’s home. The pastor acquired false papers for the family and Chaim assumed the false identity, Edward Krakovski. Chaim left the family’s real papers and jewelry with the pastor. In August 1942, the family was deported to the Srodula ghetto. As deportations of Jews increased, the family hid in a one-room bunker in a basement with three families. While Chaim was out of the ghetto to obtain food, everyone in the bunker was deported. Chaim escaped in the middle of the night. The ghetto was heavily guarded and it took him four hours to go three blocks. He traveled to Bytom and was sheltered by the Poshomonka (?) family, who were customers before the war. He thought more Jews could hide in the house and contacted Vladek Chripfisch who was active in the Polish underground and claimed to have contacts in Auschwitz.
    On December 13, 1943, Chaim went to a house in Sosnowiec where Vladek told him to leave money for two Jews to escape from Auschwitz. Two Germans entered the house and arrested Chaim. He tried to use his false identity, but they had a letter from Chaim to Vladek, revealing his true identity. He was taken to an office and interrogated. The man threatened to pull off his finger nails with tweezers if he did not tell the truth. Chaim was then locked in a basement and was told the interrogation would continue the next day. In the morning, a German asked if there were any Jews and Chaim said yes to avoid the interrogation. He was transported to a prison, where there were no other Jewish prisoners. Chaim said that he was a smuggler and did not tell anyone he was Jewish. He thought Vladek could get him out of jail and asked a prisoner who was about to be released to talk to Vladek in exchange for money. He revealed that he was Jewish, and the prisoner turned him in. He was taken to an office and beaten. He did not have a Star of David badge and was ordered to make one out of paper.
    In late December 1943, Chaim was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. He planned, with five other men, to jump out of the window, but the other passengers persuaded them to stay in the car. Upon arrival, Chaim was assigned to Birkenau. The prisoners were stripped for the showers and told to leave their money, but Chaim hid his money under his tongue. The barber inspected prisoners’ mouths for money, but he did not check Chaim’s because he told him that he had just been in prison. While he was waiting to be assigned a barrack, a prisoner gave him food because he was a friend of Chaim’s brother, Paul, who was a member of a Communist group. He slept in a horse stall with no heat. He found his brother, Fajwal, who had been deported to the camp a few months earlier. While imprisoned at the camp, Chaim and Fajwal went by the German names, Henryk and Felix. Fajwal convinced the manager of the kitchen to give Chaim a job mashing potatoes, in exchange for Chaim’s money. One day, Chaim told a prisoner to take a meal to his sick friend. German guards saw the steam when the prisoner opened the container. A Kapo was ordered to beat the four prisoners who worked in the kitchen fifty times. The Kapo had been Chaim’s customer before the war. He told Chaim to scream but did not beat him. The next day, the other three workers in the kitchen were killed.
    In January 1944, Fajwal was selected to be killed. Chaim heard that the Germans were looking for skilled workers and went to the office. There was a long line of prisoners waiting to enter, but Chaim gave the guards cigarettes and was allowed in with Fajwal. There was another long line inside and Chaim pushed Fajwal to the front. A German officer, Bernhard Kruger, noticed this and selected Chaim because he looked healthy. Chaim said that he was a carpenter, as well as his brother, because he did not know what skills Kruger was seeking. The borthers then were transferred to Sachsenhausen. They were put to work making counterfeit money and forged documents. They were isolated from the rest of the camp and were not allowed to leave their block. Their work was part of a secret German project, Operation Bernhard, designed to weaken the British economy by overwhelming the market with counterfeit pound notes. In January 1945, Fajwal and Chaim were transferred to Mauthausen concentration camp, and then to the sub-camp, Ebensee.
    The United States Army liberated Ebensee on May 6, 1945. Chaim briefly lived in Czechoslovakia before returning to Sosnowiec. The pastor who hid Chaim’s family returned the possessions that had been left with him during the war. Chaim learned that he had lost eighteen family members during the war. His father had been killed in a Jewish cemetery and his mother and sisters were shot after jumping from a train en route to a concentration camp. He heard from a neighbor that his wife was seen in Auschwitz; it is assumed that his wife and children were killed there. Chaim also learned that Vladek had turned him into the Germans. He received a telegram from his brother Paul that he and Adolf were alive; Adolf had married a Catholic woman and lived in Belgium; Paul had joined the Belgian underground movement. Chaim moved to Antwerp where he met Kajla-Rykwa Miller, who had returned to Belgium from the United States to find surviving family members. She was born in Skierniewice, Poland, but grew up in Belgium. She emigrated to the United States with her sister, Suzi, in 1940. Her parents and cousin, Esther, perished in the Holocaust. Chaim and Kajla-Rykwa married and moved to the United States in 1948. The couple had two children. Chaim passed away, age 84, on July 18, 1990.

    Physical Details

    Language
    German
    Classification
    Exchange Media
    Category
    Money
    Object Type
    Scrip (aat)
    Physical Description
    Scrip on rectangular, offwhite, yellowish cardstock that has been laminated. Across the top is German text and faint preprinted horizontal black lines. In the upper right corner is the denomination .50. In the center are a preprinted black circle and a black, circular Nazi seal stamp with German text, a swastika, and a Reichsadler. Along the left edge is illegible handwritten text; the left center edge has a semi-circular section missing. In the lower left corner is a printer’s number. On the reverse are handwritten numbers.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 2.250 inches (5.715 cm) | Width: 3.120 inches (7.925 cm)
    Materials
    overall : paper, ink, plastic laminate
    Inscription
    front, center, stamped in black ink : (Reichsadler) St. / Kommandantur K.L Auschwitz
    front, left edge, handwritten in blue ink : [Schw?] illegible text
    reverse, center, handwritten in blue ink : 38 6

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The Auschwitz scrip was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2010 by Lydia Hollander, the daughter of Chaim Hollander.
    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:
    2023-10-16 13:42:19
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn41675

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