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Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp Kaffeehaus [Coffee house] coupon issued to an Austrian Jewish prisoner

Object | Accession Number: 2005.517.53

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    Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp Kaffeehaus [Coffee house] coupon issued to an Austrian Jewish prisoner

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    Brief Narrative
    Ration coupon used by Elsa Blau when she and her family were imprisoned in the Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp from 1942-1945. All currency was confiscated upon entry and replaced with scrip and ration coupons that could be exchanged only in the camp. Elsa, her husband, Adolph, two children, and her mother were deported from Vienna, Austria, in 1942. They lived in the camp 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 Germany where they lived until their immigration to the United States in 1948.
    use:  1942-1945
    issue: Theresienstadt (concentration camp); Terezin (Ustecky kraj, Czech Republic)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Jeffrey A. Gordon
    front, top left corner, printed in brown ink : Verpfl. Einh.
    front, center, below handwritten name, stamped in blue : Menage – Dienst [? – Service]
    front, center, over black ink, stamped in pink : (oversized) P
    front, top, right, printed in brown ink and stamped in blue : Monat / APRIL [Month / APRIL]
    front, center, printed in brown ink and stamped in black : 10080 Schwerarbeiter Zusatzkarte [10080 Hard worker Add on Card]
    front, bottom left corner, printed in brown ink : I / XXXI
    back, bottom left, stamped in blue : M.D. / E [missing] / ESSEN [missing]
    Subject: Elsa Blau
    Elsa Rosenthal was born to an orthodox Jewish family in Vienna, Austria, on October 23, 1893. Her mother, Fanny, was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1870, and immigrated to the United States in 1876 when her father, a cantor, accepted a position there. Fanny received US citizenship, but when her father died, returned to Europe, where she married, settled in Vienna, and had three children, Elsa, Leo, and Melanie. Melanie, who had a daughter, Edith, died of a head injury in the 1930s. Elsa graduated from the Vienna Conservatory of Music, with a degree in piano. In 1924, she married Adoph Blau in the Turkischer [Turkish] Temple, a Sephardic synagogue. They had two children, Gertrude, born on March 14, 1925, and Herbert, born on July 28, 1931. Following the Anschluss in March 1938, when Austria was annexed to Germany, anti-Jewish laws were passed and Jews were targeted for persecution and deportation. Elsa’s mother refused to leave without her family and attempted to get them all to the United States, but immigration was difficult and expensive. On August 13, 1942, the family was deported by the Germans to Theresienstadt concentration camp. They were separated as men and women were housed in different barracks. Elsa worked as slave labor at a Messerschmitt airplane factory and a Telefunken electronics factory. Herbert was able to celebrate his Bar Mitvah in Terezin, and his sister was able to attend the ceremony. Not long after this, Gertrude was transferred to Auschwitz concentration camp.

    On May 2, 1945, the Germans transferred administration of Terezin to the International Red Cross. The family was sent to Deggendorf displaced persons camp in Germany, where they were reunited with Gertrude. The family resided in the camp until their emigration. In November 1947, with the assistance of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, they were granted visas for the United States, where they settled in Vineland, New Jersey. Adolph died in 1958. Fanny, age 91, died in 1961. Elsa passed away, age 94, in 1987.

    Physical Details

    Exchange Media
    Object Type
    Ration cards (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Irregularly, cut, rectangular light brown paper coupon. The front has preprinted graphics with German text in brown ink. There are entry boxes and lines that are filled in by hand in black ink. In the upper left corner is a stamped image of a castle in blue; in the upper right corner is a month stamp in blue; and in the center is an oversized P stamped in pink. The lower edge has series of boxes with printed Roman numerals. The reverse has a partial stamp in blue with German text. Coupons have been clipped from the right side and lower edge for use.
    overall: Height: 2.500 inches (6.35 cm) | Width: 4.000 inches (10.16 cm)
    overall : paper, ink
    front, center, handwritten in black ink : Blau Else IV/7 – 717 / [illegible]

    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 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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