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Central Bank of China, 1000 yuan note, acquired by a German Jewish refugee

Object | Accession Number: 1990.114.64

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    Central Bank of China, 1000 yuan note, acquired by a German Jewish refugee

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    Brief Narrative
    5000 yuan note issued by the Central Bank of China acquired by Peter Victor when he lived as a refugee in Shanghai, China, from 1938-1947. It features the portrait of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, founder of the Republic of China, who promoted the establishment of a national banking system. It was the primary issuer of bank notes in China from 1928-1942. This bank moved to Taiwan in 1949 and is now known as the Central Bank of the Republic of China (Taiwan). Peter, 18, left Berlin for Shanghai in 1938 to escape the anti-Jewish policies of the Nazi-led government. His parents, Carl and Elsa, arrived in Shanghai in 1939. Carl died in 1940 and Elsa in 1942. Shanghai was liberated by the United States Army on September 3, 1945. With the aid of the American Joint Distribution Committee, Peter emigrated to America in December 1947.
    issue:  1945
    received:  1945-1947
    received: Hongkou Qu (Shanghai, China)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Peter M. Victor, in memory of Carl and Elsa Victor and Berta Neidermann Victor
    face, upper left and right, red ink : 729858
    face, bottom left and right, red ink : SERIES 50-D / 2 Chinese seals
    face, bottom border, black ink : 6 Chinese characters
    back, corners, outline on purple ink : 1000
    back, center, on purple ink : THE CENTRAL BANK OF CHINA / 1000 ONE THOUSAND 1000 / 1945
    back, left and right, purple ink : GOVERNOR / MANAGER
    back, bottom border, black ink : SECURITY BANKNOTE COMPANY
    Subject: Peter M. Victor
    Issuer: Central Bank of China
    Printer: Security Banknote Company
    Peter Max Victor was born in Munich, Germany, on April 19, 1920, the only child of Carl Nathan and Elsa Alexander Victor. Carl was born in Gusten on May 1, 1879, to Louis (1832-1901) and Henrietta Pels Victor (1850-1940). Carl had a sister, Rebecca (1881-1970) who married a gentile, Gustav Adler (1882-1958), and had two sons. Elsa was born on December 25, 1888. Carl served in the Germany Army during World War I (1914-1918.) Carl was a poet and chemist and owner of a food dye and preservatives factory. Elsa worked with the business. In 1924, the family moved to Berlin. The family was well off and Jewish, but not especially observant. After the establishment of the Nazi dictatorship in Germany in 1933, anti-Jewish legislation and restrictions became increasingly harsh. Carl’s business was not restricted and it converted to produce war rations for the Army. After the Kristallnacht destruction of November 9-10, 1938, the family decided to leave Germany. They bought tickets for Shanghai, China, because it was an open port with no visa requirements.

    Peter left Germany on May 15, 1939, and arrived in Shanghai on June 14. Carl sold the family’s furniture and his factory. Jews could take almost no money out of Germany. Carl entrusted the sale proceeds to a friend who said he would transfer it to a bank in Shanghai, but never did. Carl and Elsa arrived in Shanghai in June 1939 on the Conte Rosso. They lived together in a small room, but life was difficult because they were penniless. Peter worked odd jobs in a hospital and community kitchen. Both of his parents contracted tropical diseases. Carl died, 61, of amoebic dysentery on November 29, 1940. Elsa developed diabetes because of the lack of adequate food and, at age, 54, passed away on May 9, 1942. Peter had to move to Hongkew ghetto in 1943 and got a job as a lifeguard at Hongkew Park, a country club for the elite of the Japanese occupation authorities.

    The war in Europe ended with Germany's surrender on May 7, 1945. Shanghai was liberated by the United States Army on September 3, 1945. Peter worked as a dispatcher and driver for the US Army Air Force motor pool. In December 1947, the American Joint Distribution Committee assisted Peter in emigrating to America on the USNS Marine Adder. His paternal aunt, Rebecca Adler, survived the war in Berlin; her husband, who was not Jewish, had been able to save her, but both their sons were killed by the Nazis. For two years, he lived in San Francisco. Peter married Berta Neidermann Spiner on April 25, 1951, in Chicago. Berta, born January 20, 1917, had arrived in the US in 1938, a refugee from Nazi ruled Vienna. Her parents, Joseph and Anna Scheier Neidermann, were murdered in Auschwitz. Peter and Berta settled in Washington DC. Peter owned a gift business. After his retirement, he volunteered at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Berta, 71, passed away on May 28, 1988. Peter, 73, died on May 7, 1993.

    Physical Details

    Chinese English
    Exchange Media
    Physical Description
    Chinese currency on rectangular offwhite paper with purple ink. The face has a rectangular border with a patterned ribbon design and corner embellishments with the denomination 1000 in Chinese characters. There is a realistic portrait bust of a Chinese male, Sun Yat-sen, in the center, with an embellishment with Chinese text to each side. The serial number in red ink is in the upper left and right with 4 Chinese characters in the center. There are 2 square Chinese seals and the series letter and number in red ink in the bottom left and right. The back has a rectangle with a rayed background and the denomination 1000 in each corner over side flourishes with a rayed sun in the center. In the center is a large flourish with the denomination 1000 overlaid with 1000 one thousand yuan 1000 with text above and the year below. The currency is creased and has pink stains.
    overall: Height: 2.500 inches (6.35 cm) | Width: 6.000 inches (15.24 cm)
    overall : paper, ink

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The currency was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2004 by Arleen Tievsky, the executor of the Estate of Peter Victor.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2022-11-22 15:55:18
    This page:

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