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Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp scrip, 10 kronen note

Object | Accession Number: 2003.413.10

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    Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp scrip, 10 kronen note

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Scrip, valued at 10 kronen, distributed in Theresienstadt (Terezin) ghetto-labor camp. Currency was confiscated from inmates and replaced with scrip, which could only be used in the camp. The scrip was part of an elaborate illusion to make the camp seem normal and appear as though workers were being paid for their labor, but the money had no real monetary value. The scrip was printed by the National Bank in Prague in 7 denominations: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100. The notes are dated 1 January 1943, but were not distributed until May 1943. Peter Kien, a Czechoslovakian poet, artist, and inmate of Theresienstadt designed the notes, but his original design was rejected by SS General Reinhard Heydrich. He was ordered to make Moses appear more stereotypically Semitic in appearance and to arrange Moses’s hand so that it is covering one of the commandments.
    Date
    issue:  1943 January 01
    Geography
    issue: Theresienstadt (Concentration camp); Terezin (Ustecky kraj, Czech Republic)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Joel Forman
    Markings
    face, center, printed, navy blue ink : QUITTUNG ÜBER / ZEHN KRONEN / 10 / WER DIESE QUITTUNG VERFÄLSCHT ODER NACHMACHT / ODER GEFÄLSCHTE QUITTUNGEN IN VERKEHR BRINGT, / WIRD STRENGSTENS BESTRAFT. [RECEIPT OF / TEN CROWNS / 10 / ANYONE WHO FALSIFIES OR DISTORTS OR FAKES THIS RECEIPT, OR COUNTERFEITS RECEIPT, WILL BE STRICTLY PUNISHED]
    face, lower right corner, printed, navy blue ink : 10
    reverse, upper left corner, plate letter and number, printed, navy blue ink : A010
    reverse, upper right and lower left corners, printed, navy blue ink : 10
    reverse, center, printed, navy blue ink : Quittung / über / ZEHN KRONEN / THERESIENSTADT, AM 1.JÄNNER 1943 DER ALTESTE DER JUDEN / IN THERESIENSTADT / Jakob Edelstein [Receipt / of / TEN CROWNS / THERESIENSTADT, ON 1. JANUARY 1943 THE ELDER OF THE JEWS IN THERESIENSTADT Jakob Edelstein]
    Contributor
    Designer: Peter Kien
    Printer: National Bank of Prague
    Issuer: Der Alteste der Juden in Theresienstadt
    Biography
    Franz Peter Kien was born January 1, 1919, in Varnsdorf, Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic), to Leonard and Olga Frankl Kien. His father Leonard was born in 1886, in Varnsdorf, and was a member of the German-speaking Jewish population in the, the Sudetenalnd, which bordered Germany. Leonard was a textile manufacturer with his own factory. Peter’s mother Olga was born in 1898, in Bzenec, Austro-Hungary (Czech Republic), to Jewish parents. After 1929, the Kien family moved to Brno. Peter enrolled at the German Gymnasium, where he excelled at drawing, painting, and writing. In 1936, he graduated and moved to Prague to study at the Academy of Fine Arts. He also attended the Officina Pragensis, a private graphic design school run by a well-known Jewish artist, Hugo Steiner-Prag.

    On September 29, 1938, Germany annexed the Sudetenland. On March 15, 1939, Germany invaded Prague and annexed the Bohemia and Moravia provinces of Czechoslovakia, ruled by a Reich Protector. Jews were banned from participation in government, businesses, and organization, including schools. Peter had to leave the Academy, but continued to study at the Officina Pragensis. He also taught at Vinohrady Synagogue. In September 1940, Peter married Ilse Stranska, who was born on May 9, 1915, in Pilsen, to Jewish parents.

    In late September 1941, Reinhard Heydrich, the SS head of RSHA, Reich Main Security Office, became Reich Protector. Soon there were regular deportations of Jews to concentration camps. At the end of November, Theresienstadt concentration and transit camp near Prague got its first shipment of Jewish prisoners. On December 14, Peter was transported to Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp. He was assigned to the technical department where he worked as a draftsman and designer alongside other artists, including Bedrich Fritta, Leo Haas, and Jiri Lauscher. On July 16, 1942, Peter’s wife Ilse arrived in the camp. On January 30, 1943, Peter’s parents Leonard and Olga were transported from Bzenec to Terezin. Peter was assigned major projects by the Jewish Council that administered the camp for the Germans, such as the scrip receipts used in place of money in the camp. He secretly documented the inmate’s daily life, creating portraits and other drawings, and wrote plays, poems, and an operatic libretto. On October 16, 1944, Peter’s wife Ilse and his parents Leonard and Olga were selected for deportation. Peter volunteered to go with them. Before leaving, Peter and his family were sent to Auschwitz concentration camp in German-occupied Poland. Peter survived the selection process, soon fell ill, likely with typhus, and died at age 25 in late October 1944. His wife and parents were killed at Auschwitz. Some of the work that Peter left with other prisoners or hid at Theresienstadt survived and has been exhibited worldwide.

    Physical Details

    Language
    German Hebrew
    Classification
    Exchange Media
    Category
    Money
    Object Type
    Scrip (aat)
    Genre/Form
    Money.
    Physical Description
    Theresienstadt scrip printed on rectangular, off-white paper in navy blue ink. On the face is a rectangle with geometric patterning and a wide, off-white margin to the right. On the left, within the rectangle, is a vignette with an image of Moses holding 2 stone tablets inscribed with the 10 Commandments in Hebrew. To his right, is the denomination centered between lines of German text. In the lower right corner is a Star of David with the denomination below. The reverse has a rectangle with geometric patterning and a wide, off-white margin to the left. Within the rectangle is a central light blue streak, German text above and below a scrollwork line, the denomination on the upper right, and signature on the lower right. In the lower left corner is the denomination below a Star of David in a striped circle. The plate letter and number are in the upper left corner. A vertical crease is in the center and there are small spots of yellow staining near the upper edge on the front and reverse.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 2.500 inches (6.35 cm) | Width: 5.000 inches (12.7 cm)
    Materials
    overall : paper, ink

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The scrip was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2003 by Joel Forman.
    Record last modified:
    2022-09-20 14:47:16
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn524840

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