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Łódź ghetto scrip, 20 mark note

Object | Accession Number: 2005.218.2

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    Łódź ghetto scrip, 20 mark note


    Brief Narrative
    Scrip acquired by 22 year-old Steffa (Shifra) Horowitz Mairanz (Marjanc) from family members who lived in the Jewish ghetto in Łódź, Poland. Steffa, her husband, and their infant daughter, who was born April 12, 1940, lived in hiding in different towns near Łódź to avoid being interned in any ghettos. Steffa managed to smuggle several family members out of the Łódź ghetto before it was destroyed by the Germans in 1944.
    issue:  1940 May 15
    creation: Litzmannstadt-Getto (Łódź, Poland); Łódź (Poland)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Theodore T. Mairanz and Ita Mond
    front upper right, black ink : Quittung / über / Zwanzig Mark / Der Aelteste der Juden / in Litzmannstadt [Receipt / about / Twenty Mark / The elders of the Jews / in Lodz]
    front bottom left, black ink : Litzmannstadt, den 15 Mai 1940 [in Lodz / the 15 May 1940
    front upper left, serial number, red ink : Nº 162450
    reverse top left, black ink : Quittung über / Zwanzig Mark [Receipt about / Twenty Mark]
    Subject: Steffa Mairanz
    Steffa (Shifra) Horowitz was born February 3, 1921 in Rzeszów, Poland to Rabbi Tuvia Horowitz and Ita Spira. In 1932, she moved with her family to Sanok, Poland, where her father became the town rabbi. Steffa had three siblings: Menachem Mendel, Malka, and Rivka (b. 1936). In December 1938, Shifra married Nechemia (Tadek) Majranc (later Mairanz), born May 29, 1908. He was a rabbinical student from Łódź, who came from a wealthy family of Gerer Chasidim. The young couple moved to Łódź, but went to Kraków before the establishment of the Łódź ghetto in January 1940, following the German occupation of Poland in September 1939. They lived with Steffa’s cousin in Kraków, where she gave birth to their first child, Miriam Dvora (Marilka), on April 12, 1940. The family continued to move around in Poland, leaving places before the ghettos were established. They returned to Sanok where Steffa met friends who were working for the Polish underground and she began acting as a courier. Steffa always brought Marilka with her on underground business, both to protect her daughter and to appear less suspicious. When they heard that a ghetto was to be established in Sanok, Steffa and her family decided to go into hiding. They were able to secure false papers with new names: Shifra became Steffa; Nechemia became Tadek, and Miriam, Marilka, and they moved to Rzeszow. Steffa paid for expenses by selling her engagement ring and from 1940-1942, she worked as a chambermaid in local hotels. Her husband, Tadek, who could not pass for a Pole, hid for these two years inside a closet in their apartment.
    Steffa found hiding places for her parents and three siblings and made plans to get them out of the Łódź ghetto in 1942. Her parents, who spoke no Polish, managed to get papers from the Agudath Israel organization to escape to Hungary. They left on foot, leaving their younger children with a Polish friend in Sanok, until Steffa could retrieve them. They escaped through a forest, but were forced to return after her mother broke her leg. Later, they were deported to Sobibor death camp, where they were killed.
    Steffa sent false papers to her three siblings in Sanok and instructed them to take the train to Kraków, where she would meet them. Her brother refused to shave his beard. As he looked recognizably Jewish, it was agreed that the children would travel separately, although on the same train. When they arrived at the train station, her brother was immediately arrested and shot. The two young sisters witnessed this, and then departed on the train. However, they got off at the wrong stop, where they were arrested by the Gestapo and put in a dark, rat infested cell. Fifteen year old Malka was subsequently taken out and shot in front of her 5 year old sister, Rivka. Rivka was turned over to the Jewish police and brought to the Kraków ghetto, where she was taken in by her cousins, the Teitelbaums. The following year, 1943, after learning of her sister's whereabouts, Steffa arranged with her cousin, Ratza Teitelbaum, to smuggle Rivka out of the ghetto. Steffa retrieved Rivka after she was dropped by a group of slave laborers, among them Ratza’s brother, Menashe Teitelbaum, along a designated place in the street. She brought Rivka to join her family in Rzeszów. Previously, Steffa had also helped smuggle her husband’s mother, Brocha, and his 3 brothers, Levi, Yisroel, and Mordechai out of the Łódź ghetto. His father, Tzvi, had died of dysentery in the ghetto. They all made it to Rzeszów, except for Yisroel, who was arrested and murdered by the Germans. Steffa found them housing nearby, and they were able to disguise themselves as Aryans and could walk back and forth between the apartments.
    During the final days of the war, the bombing was so intense that Tadek was forced to leave the apartment and enter a shelter with other Poles. He was arrested, though not as a Jew, but as a Pole, and was taken to a slave labor camp with a group of Polish men captured by the Germans during their retreat from the Soviet Union. However, before the Germans were able to register their new inmates, Tadek managed to escape. Four days later he returned home to a liberated Rzeszów.
    In 1945, the entire Majranc family left Poland, traveling first to Austria, Hungary and Romania, before arriving in Italy, where they stayed for two years. Brocha and her two sons left for Palestine. Steffa, Tadek, and the girls waited for another boat bound for Palestine, but then unexpectedly received American visas. Steffa’s uncle, Rabbi Yisroel Spira, who lived in the United States, found out that she was alive and worked to get them to the US. With the help of members of the Agudath Israel organization, who had known Steffa’s father, he was able to bring them to America in 1947, where Steffa and Tadek would have two more children. Tadek died in July 1973, age 65 years.

    Physical Details

    Exchange Media
    Object Type
    Scrip (aat)
    Physical Description
    Rectangular off-white paper note printed in green/brown ink with black and brown text. The front has a green 6 pointed Star of David patterned background layered over a green swirl pattern. The numerical denomination, 20, is in the in lower left and upper right corners. There is a green Star of David in a circle in the upper middle; the serial number is in the upper left corner. The reverse has a green Star of David background with a Star of David border in the upper right corner within a black square. There is text on the top left, a candelabrum on the bottom left, and a 20 in the bottom right.
    overall: Height: 3.120 inches (7.925 cm) | Width: 6.250 inches (15.875 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 Lodz ghetto scrip was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2005 by Theodore Mairanz and Ita Mond, the children of Steffa and Tadek Mairanz.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:29:53
    This page:

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