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Potato ration card stub issued to a Jewish Czech man for potatoes

Object | Accession Number: 1992.132.10

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    Brief Narrative
    Ration card stub for potatoes, valid from September 29 1941 – July 5 1942 issued to Josef Polacek by the Ministry of Land and Forestry. During the war food was strictly rationed in German controlled regions and Jews were allowed much smaller portions than the general public. To identify the owners as Jewish the cards were first stamped with a large J and later the entire card was covered with inscriptions of “Jude’. Josef lived in Prague when it was invaded in March 1939, by Germany and made part of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. The authorities passed new anti-Jewish regulations that severely restricted Josef’s daily life. In September, Germany invaded neighboring Poland. In September 1941, Josef was required to wear a yellow Star of David badge at all times to identify himself as Jewish. Later that month, Reinhard Heydrich became Reich Protector and soon there were almost daily deportations of Jews to concentration camps. On December 13, 1942 Josef committed suicide rather than being deported east. On May 7, 1945 Germany surrendered, ending the war. Josef’s daughter, Elisabeth (Liese) Trausel and granddaughter, Hana Trausel (later Rehakova) both survived the war.
    use:  1941 September 29-1942 July 05
    use: Theresienstadt (Concentration camp); Prague (Czech Republic)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Hana Rehakova
    front, top, printed, black ink : XXVII. – XXXVI. / Ausgabe / vydáni / 23 [27-36 / edition 23]
    front, top right, printed, black ink : gültig vom plati od / 29. IX. 41 - 5.VII.42 [valid from / September 29 1941 – July 5 1942]
    front, top right, printed seal, black ink : MINISTERIUM FÜR LANDWIRTSCHAFT MINISTERSTVO ZEMÉDÉLSTVI [Ministry of Agriculture]
    front, center, printed, black ink : kartoffel = Bezugsausweis / Průkaz k odběru brambor / Böhmen und Mähren / Čechy a Morava/ Vor = u. Zuname – křestní jměno - příjmení / Wohnort Bydliště / Straße Ulice [Potato License card / Bohemia and Moravia / first and last name / place of residence / street]
    front, center, handwritten, black ink : Dr.Josef Polacek / V / Norimbeska
    front, bottom, printed, black ink : Sorgfältig aufbewahren! - Nicht übertragbar! / Ohne Namen ungültig! – Pečlivě uschovejte! / Nepřenosné! - Bez jména neplatné! [store carefully! = Not transferable! / Without name invalid!]
    front, bottom above coupons, black ink : Sonderabschnitt - Zvláštní ústřižeky [Special coupon]
    front, bottom, left, coupon, printed, black ink : Nr. č. / 13 / Kartoffeln Brambory [potatoes]
    front, bottom left center coupon, printed, black ink : Nr. č. / 14 / Kartoffeln Brambory [potatoes]
    front, bottom right center coupon, printed, black ink : Nr. č. / 15 / Kartoffeln Brambory [potatoes]
    front, bottom right coupon, printed, black ink : Nr. č. / 16 / Kartoffeln Brambory [potatoes]
    front, bottom, coupon, printed, black ink : Nr. č. / 16 / Kartoffeln Brambory [potatoes].
    Subject: Josef Polacek
    Issuer: Ministry of Agriculture
    Josef Polacek was born on November 2, 1870, in Austro-Hungary, to a Jewish couple. He became a doctor. He married Stefanie, who was born on March 3, 1875. The couple settled in Prague, Austro-Hungary (Czech Republic). They had one daughter Elisabeth (1902-1978), who went by the nickname Liese. The Austro- Hungarian Empire collapsed at the end of World War I (1914-1918) and Prague became part of the newly independent Czechoslovak Republic. Liese, married a non-Jewish man, Mr. Trausel, and the couple had two daughters, Eva and Hana (1930 - 2007).

    After 1933, when the Nazi regime came to power in Germany, Prague saw a large influx of Jews fleeing persecution. On February 4, 1938, Josef’s wife, Stefanie, died. In September, Germany annexed the Sudetenland border region. In March 1939, Germany annexed the Czech provinces of Bohemia and Moravia, where Prague was located, and placed them under the control of a Reich Protector. Other regions were absorbed by German allies and Czechoslovakia ceased to exist. Jewish life was restricted. Jews were banned from most professions and organizations, lost their property, and had to live with curfews. Few shops would serve Jews, who were allowed shop only during a few hours each day. On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded neighboring Poland. Two days later, England and France declared war on Germany.

    In September 1941, Czech Jews were required to wear a yellow Star of David badge sewn to their clothing at all times to make them easy to identify. At the end of the month, Reinhard Heydrich, SS Chief of Security for the Reich, became Reich Protector, and prioritized the expulsion of Jews to concentration camps. Regular deportations of Jews from Prague began, with daily transport notices in the newspapers. Exempted from these deportations were several groups of Jews, including those that were married to non-Jews and their half Jewish children, like Josef’s daughter, Liese, and his granddaughters, Eva and Hana. As the war progressed, food rationing increased and was strictly controlled with official ration cards. Non-Jewish citizens were granted much larger quantities of sugar, potatoes, bread, and other necessities than Jews. They were also issued cards for additional items like fruit and vegetables, which were not available to Jews. The cards issued to Jews were marked to clearly identify them. Josef, learned that he was to be deported to the east, and committed suicide on December 13, 1942, rather than be taken away by force.

    On May 7, 1945, the war ended following Germany’s surrender. Josef’s daughter, Liese, had been transported to Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp north of Prague, and held there as a prisoner. After the war, she was released and returned to Prague. While Liese was being held, Eva was assigned to carry out compulsory work while her sister, Hana, was at the hospital. The family later learned that many of the extended family members and friends that had been held in ghettoes, concentration, and labor camps had all been deported to concentration camps to the east and killed.

    Physical Details

    German Czech
    Exchange Media
    Object Type
    Ration cards (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Irregularly cut ration card stub on light weight, white paper with a black border around the perimeter, an orange latticework and text background design and black German and Czech text preprinted in fraktur font. In the top right corner is the seal of Bohemia: a circular seal with a stylized two tailed lion in the center ringed by Czech text. At the top is the use date and several lines of text. The center lines are filled in with black handwritten text and the bottom has four more lines of small text. Coupons are still attached at the bottom. An encircled J is stamped in blue ink in the top right corner. The back has blue text stamped on the bottom that is partially cut off by the missing coupons.
    overall: Height: 4.375 inches (11.113 cm) | Width: 2.000 inches (5.08 cm)
    overall : paper, ink
    front, top, stamped, blue ink : J within a circle
    back, bottom, stamped, blue ink : [?]OSEFA VODIČKOVA / [?]Obot – [?]Oomoee / Prag [?] [?]Nürnbergerstr. 22. / [?]Norimberska 22.

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The ration card was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1992 by Hana Rehakova, the granddaughter of Josef Polacek.
    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:
    2022-07-28 18:21:48
    This page:

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