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Łódź (Litzmannstadt) ghetto scrip, 10 mark note

Object | Accession Number: 2003.413.27

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    Łódź (Litzmannstadt) ghetto scrip, 10 mark note


    Brief Narrative
    Scrip, valued at 10 marks, distributed in Łódź (Litzmannstadt) ghetto. The Jewish Council was ordered to create a system of Quittungen (receipts) that could be used as currency only in the ghetto. Valuables and currency were forcibly exchanged for the scrip and it was used as modest payment for forced laborers, though it held no value outside the ghetto. Ignacy Gutman designed all the denominations of the paper scrip and they were printed by the Manitius Printing House. The coins were designed by Pinkus Szwarc and minted in the ghetto by inmates. The Łódź ghetto was the only German ghetto or concentration camp that minted coinage. The scrip was issued in the German-controlled ghetto from June of 1940 to its liquidation in the fall of 1944. The scrip, sometimes referred to as rumki or chaimki, after the Elder of the Judenrat, Chaim Mordechai Rumkowski and was issued in denominations of: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 mark notes; 5, 10, and 20 mark coins; and 50 pfennig notes and 10 pfennig coins.
    issue:  1940 June-1944 August
    issue: Litzmannstadt-Getto (Łódź, Poland); Łódź (Poland)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Joel Forman
    face, upper right corner, printed, green ink : 10 [partially missing]
    face lower left corner, printed black and green ink : 10 [partially missing]
    face, rectangle upper left corner, printed, black ink : Quittung / über [Receipt for]
    face, rectangle, center, printed, black ink : Zehn Mark [Ten Marks]
    face, rectangle, bottom, printed, black ink : Der Aelteste der Juden / in Litzmannstadt / M. Rumkowski / Litzmannstadt, den 15 Mai 1940 [The Elder of the Jews in Litzmannstadt M. Rumkowski / Litzmannstadt, 15 May 1940]
    reverse, rectangle, upper left corner, printed black and green ink : Quittung über / Zehn Mark [partially missing] [Receipt for ten marks]
    reverse, rectangle, bottom, printed, black ink : WER DIESE QUITTUNG VERFÄLSCHT ODER NACHMACHT ODER GEFÄLSCHTE / QUITTUNGEN IN VERKEHR BRINGT / WIRD STRENGSTENS BESTRAFT [partially missing] [Anyone who falsifies or copies this receipt or traffics in counterfeit receipts will be strictly punished]
    Reverse, lower right, printed, black and green ink : 10
    Designer: Ignacy Gutman
    Printer: Manitius Printing Office
    Issuer: Der Aelteste der Juden in Litzmannstadt
    Ignacy Gutman (1900- 1972) was born in Łódź, Poland, to Samuel (Szmul, 1862-1925) and Anna (Chana, 1868- 1936) nee Leder. In 1919, Ignacy volunteered to fight for Poland during the Polish–Soviet War. Afterward, he attended the University of Warsaw and graduated from their architecture program in 1927. In 1930, Ignacy married Sabina Stambulska, (1905-1987) a teacher, and the couple had a daughter, Monika (1932-?). Ignacy designed several modernist houses and buildings in Łódź, and was a co-owner of the architectural firm I. Gutman, L. Oli Architects, from 1935 to 1939.

    On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. One week later, the German army occupied Łódź, renamed the city Litzmannstadt, and immediately instigated violence and anti-Semitic policies. Jews were no longer allowed to walk on sidewalks, and were often assaulted when they walked in the streets. They were forced to turn their valuables over to the authorities, and those suspected of not complying were beaten and tortured. On February 8, 1940, the Łódź ghetto was established in the older, poorer part of the city, and Ignacy and his family were forcibly relocated inside. In March and April, the Germans encircled the ghetto with a barbed wire and wood fence. Armed guards and dogs were stationed around the perimeter with orders to shoot Jews that approached the fence.

    While in the ghetto, Ignacy was a director of the Building Department, and arranged for his daughter to work with him in the department. Ignacy was tasked by his friend, Judenrat Chairman, Chaim Mordechai Rumkowski, to design the paper scrip (currency) that would be used in the ghetto. He completed his designs in early 1940. The scrip was printed in May and issued in the ghetto in June. The Germans ordered the Jews to exchange their remaining valuables for ghetto currency, and used it as a modest payment for their forced labor. In October, the Nazis established workshops where Jews labored 10-14 hours a day in overcrowded and poorly ventilated conditions to pay back their debt for living in the ghetto. From January to September 1942, German authorities deported over 70,000 Jews to Chelmno killing center.

    In August 1944, in response to advancing Soviet forces, the Germans began transporting the remaining Jews out of the ghetto, primarily to Auschwitz-Birkenau killing center. During this time, Ignacy built a bunker where he and his family hid to avoid the deportations. He was selected for the cleaning squad, a group of prisoners who confiscated materials and valuables out of the ghetto after the other prisoners had been deported. While in hiding, Ignacy contracted tuberculosis. However, he was able to survive until the ghetto was liberated by the Soviets in January 1945.

    After the war, Ignacy and his family stayed in Łódź, and he spent two years in sanatorium recovering from his illness. After his recovery, Ignacy worked as an architect at the Central Management of the Clothing Industry and at the City Design Office. He designed the Jewish Theatre, Public City Library, and Łódź Municipality. On February, 1958, Ignacy and his family immigrated to Israel on the SS Herzl.

    Physical Details

    Exchange Media
    Object Type
    Scrip (aat)
    Physical Description
    Lodz ghetto scrip printed on lightweight, rectangular, off-white paper. The face has a green latticework under print with a 1.625 inch margin on the left and a large rectangle to the right. The rectangle has a background pattern of green interlocking Stars of David and an encircled green Star of David in the rounded, upper left corner. Printed across the center, in black German Fraktur-style font with a green underprint, is the denomination. The printing information, a signature, and the date are printed across the bottom in black. The numerical denomination is printed in green within a black square in the upper right corner, and in black with a green underprint in the lower left margin. The serial number is in red in the upper left margin. The reverse has a 1.625 inch margin on the right with a large rectangle to the left. The rectangle has a green background pattern of interlocking Stars of David. Written out in the upper left corner is the denomination in black and green German text, and in the lower left corner is a 7-branched menorah. To the right of the menorah, there are two lines of small black printed text. In the lower right margin, the numerical denomination is printed in black with a green underprint. Above the denomination, in the upper right margin and below a thin strip of the Star of David pattern, is a Star of David outline within a black square. The note is stained and in poor condition, there are several creases in the center, as well as torn, uneven edges with creases and losses. A hole in the center, and a horizontal tear have been patched with white paper adhered to the note.
    overall: Height: 2.875 inches (7.302 cm) | Width: 5.625 inches (14.287 cm)
    overall : paper, ink, adhesive
    face, upper left corner, stamped, red ink : No 090591

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The scrip was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2003 by Joel Forman.
    Record last modified:
    2022-09-20 15:26:03
    This page:

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