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Buchenwald concentration camp scrip, -.50 Reichsmark note, inscribed by an inmate

Object | Accession Number: 2003.413.34

Scrip, valued at .50 Reichsmark, distributed in Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany, with a handwritten inscription from a former inmate on the back. While held at the camp, inmates were compelled to work, and a special currency was issued to incentivize work output, though the money had no real monetary value. Buchenwald operated 134 subcamps, and issued two different types of special currency. The exchange scrip had Außenkommando, outside command, printed across the front, and was issued to inmates working in the Buchenwald subcamps. The canteen scrip, which did not have Außenkommando printed on it, was used in the main camp. Both types of notes were issued in .50, 1, 2, and 3 mark denominations. Buchenwald was established by the German government in July 1937, mainly to confine political prisoners. Jewish prisoners did not arrive at the camp until November 1938, when German SS and police officers began sending large numbers of Jewish men following the Kristallnacht program. Women were not sent to the camp until late 1943 or early 1944, and they worked mainly in the munitions factories in the subcamps. In early April 1945, as US forces approached Buchenwald concentration camp, the German guards began to evacuate the camp. On April 11, the prisoners revolted and seized control of the facilities. Later that day, US soldiers from the Sixth Army Armored Division, part of the Third Army, arrived in camp and discovered more than 21,000 starving and ill inmates.

issue:  1937 July 19-1945 April 11
issue: Buchenwald (Concentration camp); Weimar (Thuringia, Germany)
Exchange Media
Object Type
Scrip (aat)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Joel Forman
Record last modified: 2021-02-10 09:16:56
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