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Weimar Germany, 2 Rentenmark note saved by an Austrian Jewish refugee

Object | Accession Number: 2005.517.41

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    Weimar Germany, 2 Rentenmark note saved by an Austrian Jewish refugee


    Brief Narrative
    Two rentenmark note issued as emergency currency in 1923 during the Weimar Republic to help control runaway inflation. It was saved by Adolph Blau and his family. Adolph, his wife, two children, and mother-in-law were deported by the Germans from Vienna, Austria, to the Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp in Czechoslovakia in 1942. They lived in Terezin until the International Red Cross took over administration of the camp from the Germans on May 2, 1945. The family then was transferred to the Deggendorf displaced persons camp in the American zone in Germany where they lived until their immigration to the United States in 1948.
    issue:  1923 October 15
    manufacture:  1937 January
    issue: Germany
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Jeffrey A. Gordon
    face, top center, red ink : B · 72679291
    face, top, right, brown ink : 2
    face, center, brown ink : Rentenbankschein / Zwei Rentenmark / Ausgegeben auf Brund Der Verordnung / vom. 15. Oktober 1923 (Rt.-G.-Bl. IS. 9631) / BERLIN, den 30.Januar 1937 / Deutsche Rentenbank / Präsident und Vorstand: [Rentenbank paper / Two Rentenmark / Issued according to / Ordinance. 15 October, 1923 (Rt.-G.-Bl. IS. 9631) / BERLIN, January 30, 1937 / German Rentenbank / President and Board / engraved signatures]
    reverse, center, brown ink : Deutsche Rentenbank [German Rentenbank] / 2 2 / Zwei Rentenmark
    reverse, left, vertical, brown ink : Wer Rentenbankschien nachmacht oder verfälscht oder nachgemachte oder verfälchte / Sich verschafft und in Verkehr bringt, wird mit Zuchthaus nicht unter zwei Jahren bestraft [Whoever imitates Rentenbank certificate or falsified or counterfeit or falsified / procured and put into circulation shall be punished by imprisonment from two years]
    Subject: Adolph Blau
    Distributor: Deutsche Rentenbank
    Adolph Blau was born in Vienna, Austria. During World War I (1914-1918), he served in the Austrian-Hungarian Army and was awarded the Iron Cross and the Silver Medal of Bravery. After the war, he received a license from the Austrian Government to sell tobacco, a trade reserved for veterans. In 1924, Adolph married Elsa Rosenthal at the Turkish Temple, a Sephardic synagogue. They were observant Jews and had two children, Gertrude, born March 14, 1925, and Herbert, born July 28, 1931.

    On March 12, 1938, German troops marched into Austria and annexed the country. Anti-Jewish legislation was soon enacted to exclude Jews from Austrian society. The November 1938 Kristallnacht [Night of Broken Glass] pogrom was particularly brutal in Austria. Thousands of Jews were arrested and deported to concentration camps. Adolph's status as a decorated, disabled war veteran gave the family some preotection and, with the help of friends, he was able to maintain his tobacco trade a while longer. In August 1942, the family, which included his mother-in-law, Fanny Rosenthal, was deported to Theresienstadt concentration camp in Czechoslovakia, avoiding Auschwitz possibly because of his veteran's status. The family was separated, as men and women were housed in different barracks. Elsa served as forced labor in a Messerschmitt airplane factory. Some elements of family life were maintained, as Herbert was Bar Mitzahed by Rabbi Leo Baeck in 1944. Soon afterwards, however, Gertrude was deported to Auschwitz.

    On May 2, 1945, the Germans transferred administration of the camp to the International Red Cross. Gertrude had located and rejoined them around this time. The family was sent to Deggendorf displaced persons camp in Germany, where Adolph served on the Jewish Committee and as a director of the ORT (Organization for Rehabilitation through Training) vocational school. In November 1947, with the assistance of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Adolph and his family were permitted to immigrate to the United States. They eventually settled in Vineland, New Jersey, where Adolph died in 1958.

    Physical Details

    Exchange Media
    Physical Description
    Rectangular 2 rentenmark paper currency with a brown ink patterned rectangle on a light green background with the serial number in red ink at the top above 6 lines of German text and engraved signatures. There is a wide right margin with the denomination 2 in the upper right corner and an embossed Reichsbank seal at the bottom. The back has 3 ornate medallions on a geometric patterned rectangle: the left and right have the denomination 2, the center has a wheat sheaf. The bank name is printed above and the denomination Zwei Rentenmark is below. Two lines of small fraktur text are printed vertically along the left side. The wide left margin has the denomination 2 Rentenmark in the bottom corner. The paper is soiled and wrinkled, with torn edges.
    overall: Height: 2.750 inches (6.985 cm) | Width: 4.875 inches (12.383 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 bank note was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2005 by Jeffrey A. Gordon, the son of Gertrude Blau Gordon.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:28:58
    This page:

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