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Occupation currency note, 50 Karbowanez, issued by Nazi Germany in eastern Poland

Object | Accession Number: 2010.443.6

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    Occupation currency note, 50 Karbowanez, issued by Nazi Germany in eastern Poland

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    Brief Narrative
    German occupation currency note, valued at 50 Karbowanez, issued in Rovno, Poland (Rivne, Ukraine) in March 1942. In September 1939, not long after the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany, Rovno was occupied by the Soviet Union under the terms of the German-Soviet Pact. On June 22, 1941, Germany launched a surprise attack, Operation Barbarossa, on Russia. A week later, German troops occupied Rovno. The city was liberated by the Soviet Army on February 2, 1944. The currency was recovered by Yahad-In Unum as they researched the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany against the Jewish population in Eastern Europe. The organization has located hundreds of mass execution and grave sites to document this Holocaust by bullets and to allow for the respectful remembrance of the fallen.
    issue:  1942 March 10
    found:  2005
    Issue: Rivne (Zakarpatska oblast, Ukraine)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Yahad-in Unum
    face, upper center, large bold print, black ink : FÜNFZIG KARBOWANEZ [FIFTY KARBOWANEZ]
    face, center, black ink : Ausgegeben auf Grund der Verordnung / vom 5. März 1942 / ROWNO (bold), den 10. März 1942 / ZENTRALNOTENBANK UKRAINE (bold) [Issued on the basis of the Decree of 5 March 1942 / ROWNO, the 10th March 1942 CENTRAL BANK OF UKRAINE]
    face, center background, left and right corners, black ink : 50
    face, left, printed vertically, black ink : FÜNFZIG
    face, lower center, black ink : illegible signature
    face, lower right, printed in a circle, black ink : ZENTRALNOTENBANK UKRAINE •
    face, lower right, serial number, red ink : 42 • 852963
    back, upper center, black border, white ink : ZENTRALNOTENBANK UKRAINE
    back, upper center, black ink : FÜNFZIG KARBOWANEZ
    back, center and corners, black ink : 50
    back, lower center, black ink : П'ЯТЬДЕСЯТ КАРБОВАНЦІВ [FIFTY KARBOWANEZ]
    back, lower center, black border, white ink : ЦЕНТРАЛЬНИЙ ЕМІСІЙНИЙ БАНК УКРАЇНА [CENTRAL BANK OF UKRAINE]
    Issuer: Zentralnotenbank Ukraine
    Subject: Patrick Desbois
    Subject: Yahad-In Unum
    Father Patrick Desbois is the president of Yahad- In Unum (Together as One), an organization he co-founded in 2004 to develop and promote Christian-Jewish understanding. He is also a Roman Catholic priest and director of the Episcopal Committee for Relations with Judaism, which is connected with the French Conference of Bishops.
    Father Desbois was born in Chalon-sur-Saone, France, in 1955 and grew up on a farm in the Bresse region of eastern France. As a young man, he joined the French civil service and taught mathematics in West Africa. He went to Calcutta to work with Mother Teresa for three months. After this, he decided to join the priesthood, a decision that shocked his secular family. He became a parish priest and studied Judaism and learned Hebrew. He asked to do outreach work with groups such as Roma, ex-prisoners, and Jews, and was appointed a liaison with the Jewish community in France.
    His family had lived on the farm throughout the German occupation of France during World War II, 6/25/1940-8/25/1944. His paternal grandfather, as a soldier in the French Army, had been deported by the Germans following the occupation. He was sent to Rava-Ruska prison camp, then on the Ukrainian side of the Polish border, now in Ukraine. His grandfather never talked about his experiences, but he did once comment to his grandson that, as bad as it was for French prisoners-of-war, it was much worse for other types of inmates. A maternal cousin who had been a member of the resistance was deported and killed in a German concentration camp. As an adult, he learned from his mother that the family had often hidden members of the French Resistance on the farm.
    Desbois was haunted by his grandfather's silence. He made repeated trips to Rava-Ruska where his grandfather had been imprisoned. On one visit, the mayor took him to the edge of the forest where a group of elderly villagers were gathered to tell him what they had witnessed. Desbois finally learned what his grandfather would not say - that, unlike what Desbois had supposed, the killings were not done in secret. They were public spectacles, performed in broad daylight, and people wanted to be there and watch. Since 2001, Desbois has led research teams to discover the fate of Jewish victims of Nazi Germany, specifically of the Einsatzgruppen [killing squads] that operated in Eastern Europe during World War II. Based in Paris, Yahad-in Unum’s mission is to discover every mass grave and site where Jews were killed in the Ukraine. They research and compare documents from German and Soviet archives, searching for clues to locations where the killings occurred. They then travel to the villages to find witnesses who will tell them the location of the mass graves. Yahad has identified over 800 of an estimated 2000 sites. Father Desbois also seeks out and has recorded personal testimonies of hundreds of the remaining witnesses to the atrocities. As of 2015, they had recorded 4000 witness testimonies. “At first, sometimes, people don’t believe I’m a priest. I have to use simple words and listen to these horrors - without any judgment. I cannot react to the horrors that pour out. If I react, the stories will stop.”
    Yahad–In Unum was created in 2004 to facilitate understanding and collaboration between Catholics and Jews. The name of the organization is based upon the Hebrew and Latin words for together. The central reseach mission is to document the mass executions of more than 2 million Jews and thousands of Roma people in Eastern Europe between 1941 and 1944 by Nazi Germany and those who collaborated with them. Through the investigation of this Holocaust by bullets, Yahad-In Unum has discovered hundreds of mass graves of murdered victims and recorded the testimony of more than 3000 witnesses. The organization works to collect the evidence, village by village, region by region, searching for the last witnesses to these crimes. Yahad-In Unum seeks to identify each grave site in order to refute those who deny the Holocaust and to allow for the respectful remembrance of the fallen.

    Physical Details

    German Ukrainian
    Exchange Media
    Physical Description
    Rectangular white paper currency with a green and dark red geometric background design. It depicts a realistic portrait bust image of a soldier with a lantern hanging from support beams in the background within a decorative rectangle with curved edges and a scalloped border. The denomination 50 is in the corners and in the center of the note with German text superimposed. Near the lower edge is a signature, a Reichsadler seal with a swastika and German text, and a serial number in red ink. The back has German text on the upper center and left and Ukrainian text on the right and lower center. The denomination 50 is in the center and corners. In the center background are 3 circles with a geometric background. It is discolored with age.
    overall: Height: 3.375 inches (8.573 cm) | Width: 6.875 inches (17.463 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 paper currency was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2010 by Father Patrick Desbois on behalf of Yahad-in Unum.
    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 18:26:29
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