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German Prisoner of War Camp general issue currency, kriegsgefangenen lagergeld, 10 Reichspfennig

Object | Accession Number: 2003.413.42

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    German Prisoner of War Camp general issue currency, kriegsgefangenen lagergeld, 10 Reichspfennig

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    Brief Narrative
    German prisoner of war (POW) currency, called kriegsgfangenen lagergeld (war cash), valued at 10 Reichspfennig, distributed to prisoners held in German POW camps from 1939 to 1944. The currency was issued in seven denominations: 1, 10, and 50 Reichspfennig and 1, 2, 5, and 10 Reichsmark. After the beginning of World War II in September, 1939, Nazi Germany established a network of approximately 75 POW camps to house the enemy soldiers they captured across Europe. A prisoner’s treatment inside the camps varied depending on their nationality. Due to the Nazi belief that Soviet prisoners were racially and politically inferior, they were starved and treated brutally, resulting in millions of deaths. However, for Western Allied prisoners, life inside the camps was tough but generally fair, as Germany, with some exceptions, usually followed the Geneva Convention Rules for ethical treatment of POWs. Prisoners received meager rations supplemented with Red Cross food parcels and, with the exception of officers, were required to work, often performing hard labor. To compensate the prisoners for their work, Germany distributed currency that was to be used in the POW camps. The notes only held value in the POW camps and their official use was for the purchase of goods from the canteens. However, the canteens were poorly stocked, which rendered the notes essentially worthless. Many prisoners used the notes for gambling among themselves to combat boredom. The notes were discontinued in 1944. In response, prisoners in Polish camps created their own currency for internal use.
    issue:  1939-1944
    issue: Germany
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Joel Forman
    face, top left, printed, black ink : Kriegsgefangen = Lagergeld [Prisoner of War Camp Money]
    face, top right, printed, black ink : 8• 2320599
    face, center, printed, black ink : Gutschein über 10 Reichspfennig [Voucher for 10 Reichspfennig]
    face, center, printed, black ink : Dieser Gutschein gilt nur als Zahlungsmittel für Kriegsgefangene und / darf von ihnen nur innerhalb der Kriegsgefangenenlager oder bei Arbeitskom= / mandos in den ausdrücklich hierfür bezeichneten Verkaufsstellen verausgabt und / entgegengenommen warden. Der Umtausch dieses Gutscheines in gesetzliche Zahlungs= / mittel darf nur bei der zuständigen kasse der Lagerverwaltung erfolgen. Zuwider= / handlungen, Nachahmungen und fälschungen werden bestraft. / Der Chef des Oberkommandos der Wehrmacht [This voucher is only valid as a means of payment for prisoners of war and may only be issued and accepted by them within the prisoner of war camps or at work commissions in the outlets expressly designated for this purpose. The exchange of this voucher into legal means of payment may only take place at the cashier of the warehouse administration. Violations, imitations and counterfeits will be punished. The Chief of the High Command of the Wehrmacht]
    front, bottom center, printed, black ink : Zm Ausftrage: [illegible signature] [To the discharge:]

    Physical Details

    Exchange Media
    Object Type
    Paper money (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    German Prisoner of War (POW) camp currency printed on lightweight, rectangular, pink, paper. The paper is watermarked with a trellis of quatrefoils. A thin, rectangular border composed of a thin line overlaid with small interlinked circles is printed in black ink. Inside, is a large, centered, red triangle overlaid with several lines of black, German text in fraktur font. In the lower left corner, printed in black, is a Reichsadler, a heraldic eagle with a left turned head, open wings, holding a wreath with a canted swastika in the center. In the lower left corner, printed in black, is a Reichsadler.
    overall: Height: 1.625 inches (4.128 cm) | Width: 3.375 inches (8.573 cm)
    overall : paper, ink

    Rights & Restrictions

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

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    Administrative Notes

    The currency was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2003 by Joel Forman.
    Record last modified:
    2023-10-16 14:06:39
    This page:

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