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Soviet Union, 10 chervonets note, kept by a Polish Jewish refugee to the US

Object | Accession Number: 2012.358.7

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    Brief Narrative
    Soviet bank note for 10 chervonets acquired by 8 year old Henikel (Harold) Minuskin before he and his family left Germany for the US in 1946. Henikel lived in Zhetel (Zdieciol) Poland (Dziatlava, Belarus), with his parents Shlamke and Shanke, and his younger brother Kalmanke. In June 1941, when he was three years old, Zhekel was occupied by Nazi Germany. The Jews of the town were violently persecuted and over 120 prominent community members, including Henikel's uncle Leib, were shot. On February 22, 1942, all Jews were forcibly relocated to a ghetto. That August, the Germans began preparations to liquidate the ghetto. His father escaped to the nearby forest and joined the Jewish partisan resistance. His mother took the two brothers to an underground hiding place. After three days, they escaped to the forest. His father found them hiding in a root cellar and brought them to live with the Lenin Partisan Brigade in the Lipichanski forest in Poland (Bialowieza Forest (Poland and Belarus) from 1942-1944. The area was liberated by the Soviet Army in September 1944. When the war ended in May 1945, the family went to Zeilsheim displaced persons camp in Germany. With the assistance of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), the family emigrated to the United States, arriving in New York on September 6, 1946.
    issue:  1937
    received:  approximately 1946
    issue: Soviet Union
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Harold Minuskin
    face, upper center, in border, printed bold, black ink : ДECЯTЬ [Ten]
    face, upper center, printed, black ink : Turem / Tocygapcmeeннoro танка / Сотоза CCP / ДECЯTЬ ЧEPBOHЦEB [? / ? ? / ? SSR / Ten Chervonets]
    face, center, behind text, printed bold, black ink : ДECЯTЬ [Ten]
    face, upper right, printed, black ink : 087902 PЛ
    face, lower left, printed, black ink : 087902 PЛ
    face, left side, center, printed bold, black ink : 10
    face, each corner, printed, black ink : 10
    back, center, printed, black ink : 10
    back, center, below number, printed, black ink : 1937
    back, lower center, printed, black ink : 10
    back, lower right, printed, black ink : ДЗECЯЦЬ ЧЬIPBOHЦAY
    back, lower left, printed, black ink : ДECЯTЬ ЧEPBIHЦIB
    back, center, superimposed on number, printed, black ink : ДECЯTЬ ЧEPBOHЦEB [Ten Chervonets]
    back, left side, center, printed bold, black ink : 10
    back, right side, center, printed bold, black ink : 10
    back, upper left, curved, printed, black ink : ON CERBOИЬS / ON CERVONS
    back, lower left, curved, printed, black ink : ON CERVON / [?]
    back, upper right, curved, printed, black ink : ON CERVON / DAH VERVONS
    back, lower right, curved, printed, black ink : ON CERVONS / [?]
    Subject: Harold Minuskin
    Henikel (Henach) Minuskin was born on July 22, 1938, to Shlamke, born on March 12, 1905, and Shanke Orlinsky Minuskin, born on September 17, 1914. He had one brother, Kalmanke, born on August 17, 1940. All of the family members were born in Zhetel, Poland (Dziatlava, Belarus). They lived in a home built by his father and his four brothers. Shlamke owned a bus transportation business. Shanke was trained as a hairdresser and manicurist. On September 17, 1939, the Soviets invaded and occupied eastern Poland, and Zhetel came under Soviet control. Shortly after the invasion, Shlamke prepared a secret hiding place under the outhouse in the backyard. On June 30, 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union and occupied Zhetel. The persecution of Jews became increasingly violent and on July 23, 1941, German mobile killing units murdered about 120 prominent members of the Jewish community, including Harold’s maternal uncle, Leib Orlinsky. On February 22, 1942, the Germans put up posters ordering all Jews to move into the ghetto which was established in the area where Harold’s family lived. They had to share their home with several others. On August 6, 1942, the Germans began the final liquidation of the ghetto. Shlamke was rounded up during the massacre and locked with hundreds of others in the synagogue. He was able to hide in the rafters in the midst of the confusion. After two days, he escaped into the Belorussian forest and joined the Jewish partisan resistance.

    During this time, Henik, Kalmanke, Sonia, and eight others hid in the underground hiding place. After three days, Shanke decided to flee with her sons to the nearby forest. Harold’s grandmother, Rivka Orlinsky, suffered from poor eyesight, so an aunt remained behind with her. Both were captured by the Germans and shot and killed the following day. Shanke and the boys received shelter and food from some peasants and farmers that Shanke knew, but many were afraid of the Germans and would not help. They slept in ditches and fields some nights. Shlamke found them hiding in a root cellar and led them to the partisan unit’s base in the Lipiczanski (Lipichanski) forest. He was a private in the Lenin Partisan Brigade. The boys and their mother stayed in camouflaged underground dugouts [zemlyankas] when the unit went on missions to sabotage German troops or eliminate collaborators. The group had to keep moving to avoid capture by the Germans.

    Living conditions were harsh; the family often had little food and many partisans perished from the cold and disease. The family subsisted on food acquired from local peasants or wild food from the forest. They had a supply of Russian Czarist era gold coins which they used to get supplies, but they often were not accepted and the partisans took things by force. Shanke would venture out at night to find milk or bread. She served as a seamstress for the partisans. She made the family clothing from silk parachutes left behind by Soviet officers and sewed coats for Harold and Carl from a German great coat. The boys had Russian aviator’s hats that were also scavenged n the woods. Harold’s father taught him to shoot a rifle and load machine gun magazines and he helped his mother saw logs to build shelters. The area was liberated on September 7, 1944, by the Soviet Army.

    The family briefly returned to their home in Zhetel after the war ended in May 1945. They decided not to stay because of the still strong anti-Semitism. In November 1945, they arrived at Zeilsheim displaced persons camp near Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Their names were listed by the Red Cross as survivors of the war. Harold’s maternal aunt, Helen Orlinsky Gulfetta, who lived in New York, saw their names and sponsored their emigration to the United States. On September 16, 1946, the family emigrated to the US on the Marine Marlin. They Americanized their names to Harold, Carl, Sonia, and Sam. Harold received a masters in electrical engineering from the University of California, and was a senior design engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He married Arlene and had two children. In 2009, he translated his mother’s memoir of their wartime experiences. Sam died on August 14, 1984, age 79. Sonia died on November 7, 2008, age 94.

    Physical Details

    Exchange Media
    Physical Description
    Rectangular bank note on white paper with Russian text. The face has a black inked rectangular, swirl patterned frame with the denomination 10 printed in scalloped corner medallions; the text denomination ДECЯTЬ is printed within the top border. On the left is a large scalloped medallion with the denomination 10 in white on a black background. On the left is an oval medallion with a portrait of Lenin in a suit. The center of the rectangle is white with a faint black ДECЯTЬ [Ten] in the center with a superimposed ДECЯTЬ ЧEPBOHЦEB [ten chervonets]. There is text above and below. On the upper left is the Soviet hammer, sickle, and star emblem within a wreath. The serial number 087902 PЛ is printed on the upper right and lower left. The reverse has a black, straight edged, patterned border with the numerical denomination 10 in scalloped corner medallions. A large 10 is printed in the center with the date 1937 below on a faint, ornate, swirled background design in purple, orange, and blue ink. On the left and right are 5 lines of text stating 10 Chervonet in 10 languages. The note is ceased, torn, and repaired with tape on the reverse.
    overall: Height: 4.000 inches (10.16 cm) | Width: 7.500 inches (19.05 cm)
    overall : paper, ink, pressure-sensitive tape

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    Conditions on Use
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    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The scrip was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2012 by Harold Minuskin.
    Record last modified:
    2023-07-10 11:10:40
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