Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Westerbork transit camp voucher, 50 cent note

Object | Accession Number: 2003.413.15

Voucher, valued at 50 cents, distributed in Westerbork transit camp. While at the camp, inmates were compelled to work, and a special currency was issued to incentivize work output, but the money had no real monetary value outside the camp. Westerbork was established by the Dutch government in October 1939, for Jewish refugees who had crossed the border illegally following the Kristallnacht pogrom of November 1938. After Germany invaded the Netherlands on May 10, 1940, the German authorities began using Westerbork as a transit camp, holding internees until they were deported to forced labor camps or killing centers in other countries. Westerbork was under the authority of a German commandant, Albert Gemmeker, but run and supplied by the Jewish Community. Deportations from Westerbork began in February 1941. Inmates could occasionally purchase small supplies from the camp canteen, but food was not available. The special currency was first distributed in 1944, and designed by Werner Löwenhardt, a Jewish artist who was imprisoned by the Germans in Westerbork from October 1942, until the camp was liberated in April 1945. The front design features a large chimney from the camp laundry and a street known as the Boulevard of Misery. The back design again features the chimney, in addition to a large, toothed spur gear. Both images support an illusion of an industrious camp as well as the hopelessness of inevitable deportation.

issue:  1944 February 15-1945 April 12
issue: Westerbork (Concentration camp); Westerbork (Netherlands)
Exchange Media
Object Type
Scrip (aat)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Joel Forman
Record last modified: 2020-06-30 09:25:20
This page: