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Łódź (Litzmannstadt) ghetto scrip, 5 mark coin, saved by a ghetto resident

Object | Accession Number: 2003.343.1

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    Łódź (Litzmannstadt) ghetto scrip, 5 mark coin, saved by a ghetto resident


    Brief Narrative
    5 mark Łódź Ghetto coin saved by Halina Wolman Orski who was imprisoned there from 1941 until August 30, 1944, when she was sent to Auschwitz and then Stutthof concentration camps. Nazi Germany occupied Poland on September 1, 1939. Łódź was renamed Litzmannstadt and, in February 1941, the large Jewish population was forcibly relocated into a sealed ghetto. Residents were not allowed to have money and the Germans ordered the Jewish Council to create scrip for use only in the Ghetto. The Germans closed the ghetto in summer 1944 by deporting the residents to concentration camps or killing centers.
    issue:  1943
    issue: Litzmannstadt-Getto (Łódź, Poland); Łódź (Poland)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Wowka Klamra
    obverse: GETTO / 1943
    reverse, around outside: DER AELTESTE DER JUDEN• / •IN LITZMANNSTADT
    reverse, center: 5 / QUITTUNG ÜBER / MARK
    Subject: Halina W. Orski
    Issuer: Der Aelteste der Juden in Litzmannstadt
    Halina Wolman (1922-1998) was born on May 23, 1922 in Sieradz, Poland to Aron Wolman (d. 1941) and Mindla Majerczak Wolman and had a brother Izydor Józik (b. September 8, 1923). They lived in Łódź until May 1940, when all Łódź Jews were forced into a ghetto. Halina worked in the ghetto hospital as a nurse and Józik found employment in the ghetto pharmacy. Dawid Sierakowiak was Józik’s good friend. From 1940 to September 1942, the health department of the ghetto ran five to seven hospitals, five pharmacies, and several infirmaries. Aron died in the ghetto, probably in the winter of 1941.

    On August 30, 1944, during the final liquidation of the Łódź ghetto, Halina, Józik and their mother, Mindla were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Halina was chosen for work and her brother and mother were killed on arrival. In October 1944 Halina was transferred to Stutthof concentration camp and placed in Stulp (Slupsk), a sub-camp of Stutthof. Maryna Diamant, an acquaintance from the ghetto, placed Halina to work in the camp kitchen. Halina’s leg was wounded and the kitchen job, peeling potatoes, saved her life. In January 1945 the Germans started to evacuate the Stutthof prisoners. During this death march Halina and her friend, Renata Milerad, escaped the marching column and hid in a barn. Two days later the Red Army liberated the area in January 1945. Halina returned to her hometown and in the rubble of the ghetto she found a few photographs, among them the photographs of her brother Józik while he worked in the ghetto pharmacy.

    In 1947 Halina met and she married Eliasz Chaim Orensztajn (b. October 4, 1917 in Lublin), who later changed his name to Henryk Orski. His father, Jankel Orensztajn was a leather merchant and died in 1930. Henryk’s mother, Nesia Cukierkopf Orensztajn and his sister Sara, perished in Majdanek death camp in 1942. Henryk was active in the Polish Communist Party and was imprisoned in Bereza Kartuska and in Tarnow before the war. He survived the war in the USSR, where he joined the Polish Army.

    The Orski family, which included Jozef (b. 1947) and Maja (b. 1950), lived in Warsaw, where Halina continued to teach in a nursing school and worked as a nurse, and Henryk was history teacher and later principal of a high school. In November 1968 the Orski family left Poland and settled in Stockholm, Sweden. Jozef Orski married Barbara Klajn Orski and they had a daughter, Monika. Maja Orski Klamra, Jozef’s younger sister, married Wlodzimierz Klamra and they had two sons: Jakob and Mikael.

    Physical Details

    Exchange Media
    Object Type
    Scrip (aat)
    Physical Description
    Tarnished, circular, blackened silver colored metal coin, possibly aluminum-magnesium with a worn flat rim and smooth sides. Barely visible on the obverse is the embossed design of a 6 pointed Star of David, German text, and the year in the center within a circular line interspersed with Stars of David. The reverse has an embossed design with the denomination 5 mark in the center crossed by a banner with German text. There is German text engraved in a circle near the rim.
    overall: | Depth: 0.125 inches (0.318 cm) | Diameter: 0.875 inches (2.223 cm)
    overall : aluminum

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The coin was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2003 by Wowka Klamra, the son-in-law of Halina Wolman Orski.
    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:
    2024-02-01 09:07:13
    This page:

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