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

Object | Accession Number: 2003.413.34

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


    Brief Narrative
    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)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Joel Forman
    face, rectangle, top, printed, black ink : [SS lightning bolts]-Standort-Kantine - Buchenwald [SS site canteen Buchenwald]
    face, rectangle, center, printed, black ink : RM. -.50 RM. [Reichsmark .50 Reichsmark]
    face, rectangle, bottom, printed, black ink : WERTMARKE 37090 ✽ [Token]

    Physical Details

    Exchange Media
    Object Type
    Scrip (aat)
    Physical Description
    Buchenwald concentration camp scrip printed on lightweight, rectangular, cream-colored paper. The face has a large, central rectangle surrounded by a narrow, blank border. Within the rectangle is a pale green, floral patterned design with scalloped edges formed by narrow vertical lines of varying heights. Printed across the top and in the lower left corner is German text in black ink. The denomination is printed in black ink across the center, and the serial number is printed in black ink in the lower right corner. There is a vertical crease at the center leading to small tears on the top and bottom. A handwritten, cursive inscription is recorded in pencil across the blank back.
    overall: Height: 3.000 inches (7.62 cm) | Width: 4.250 inches (10.795 cm)
    overall : paper, ink, pencil
    back, center, handwritten, pencil : Nazi prison camp / money, so you know / what it is. I have / seen lot of things in / this camp and I don’t / like to write about it / M.A. [illegible]

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    Weimar (Thuringia, Germany)

    Administrative Notes

    The scrip was donated to the United Sates Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2003 by Joel Forman.
    Record last modified:
    2022-09-20 15:37:01
    This page:

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