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Permit to be out past curfew issued to a Jewish Czech woman

Object | Accession Number: 1992.132.4

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    Brief Narrative
    Special pass issued to Elisabeth (Liese) Trausel by the Jewish Council of Prague granting her permission to be out on the streets before curfew expired on September 1, 1944. Liese was assigned to work as a mica splitter and in order to arrive on time she needed to leave before curfew ended. Prague 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 Liese’s daily life. In September, Germany invaded neighboring Poland. In September 1941, Liese was required to wear a yellow Star of David badge at all times to identify herself as Jewish. Later that month, Reinhard Heydrich became Reich Protector and soon there were almost daily deportations of Jews to concentration camps. Liese was married to a non-Jewish man and her daughters were considered half-Jewish, which exempted all three women from being transported. On December 13, 1942, Liese’s father Josef Polacek was facing deportation and instead committed suicide. In June and December 1943, many of the exemptions protecting particular groups were waived and more Jews were transported. On September 1, 1944, Liese was assigned to do compulsory work. Later that fall, she was transported to Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp north of Prague. In April 1945, Hana was in the hospital and Eva was assigned to a compulsory work detail. Theresienstadt was taken over by the Red Cross on May 2, 1945. The war ended 5 days later when Germany surrendered. Liese returned to Prague. Many of her relatives and friends were killed in German concentration camps.
    issue:  1944 August 31
    use:  1944 September 01
    use: Prague (Czech Republic)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Hana Rehakova
    front, top, black ink : ÄLTESTENRAT DER JUDEN IN PRAG / Bescheinigung 4776 /Te [THE OLDEST COUNCIL OF JEWS IN PRAGUE / Certification 4776]
    front, center, preprinted, handwritten and stamped, black ink : Der/die Angestellte / der/die Mitarbeiter / die Aushilfskraft / Herr / Frau / Frl. Trausel Elisabeth (handwritten) / wird heute ab 5 bis 6 Uhr (numbers handwritten) / E1. IX 1944 (stamped) / dienstlich benötigt und kann deshalb das Aus- / gehverbot nicht einhalten. / Prag, am 31. VIII. 1944 (handwritten) [the employee / in the employee (s) / the auxillary power / Sir/ Mrs. / Miss Trausel Elisabeth will start today from 5 AM to 6 PM / E 1 9 1944 / and therefore cannot / comply with the ban. / Prague, on the August 31, 1944].]
    front, bottom, printed, black and red ink : / ÄLTESTENRAT DER JUDEN IN PRAG / Der Judenälteste / i. A. / Die Bescheinigung ist morgen der Ausgabestelle / zurückzustellen. [Prague, on the / The Oldest Jewish Council of Jews in Prague / The Jewish Stairs / I. A. / The certificate has to be returned to the issuing office tomorrow.]
    front, left, printed, black ink : A6/15 - Univ - 17 n - IV 44 - 14 m - Nov 390 [A6 / 15 - Univ - 17 n - IV 44 - 14 m - Nov. 390]
    Subject: Elisabeth Trausel
    Issuer: Jewish Council of Prague
    Elisabeth (Liese) Polacek (later Trausel) was born on November 4, 1902, in Prague, Austro-Hungary (Czech Republic), to Josef and Stefanie Polacek (Polatschek). Josef, a Jewish doctor, was born on November 2, 1870, in Austro-Hungary. Stefanie was born on March 3, 1875. 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 (later Rehakova), born on March 28, 1930.

    After 1933, when the Nazi regime came to power in Germany, Prague saw a large influx of Jews fleeing persecution. On February 4, 1938, Liese’s mother, 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. Liese attached pointed hooks to her badge, which made it easy to remove when she needed to cross into an area of the city where Jews were not allowed. 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 like Liese, were married to non-Jews and their half Jewish children. Also exempted were Jews who were considered sick or infirm, served as slave laborers in the war industry, or were employees of particular Jewish associations. 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. Liese’s father 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.

    In January 1943, Liese sent a food parcel to Berta Deutsch, a relative living in the sealed-off Łódź (Litzmannstadt) ghetto, in German occupied Poland. In May, Heinrich Himmler ordered the deportation of all remaining Jews in the Reich, including Bohemia and Moravia, to concentration camps in the east or to Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp, 40 miles north of Prague, by June 30. Many previously exempted Jews were deported following the new order, though Liese and her daughters were still exempt because of her non-Jewish husband. In December, Gestapo chief Heinrich Muller ordered that Jews whose marriages to non-Jews had ended in divorce or death were allowed to be transported to Theresienstadt. Liese was able to correspond with or send food parcels to several friends and relatives being held at Theresienstadt in 1943 and 1944, including Dr. Erwin Pick, Hedwig Pick, Berta Kassler, and Leo Polacek. A couple of times, she received postcards from them confirming the receipt of the food parcels she had sent.

    On August 31, 1944, the Jewish Council of Prague issued a Bescheinigung, special pass, granting Liese permission to be out on the street at 5 am on September 1. Local authorities had assigned her compulsory work splitting mica, and the only way to carry out the work was to be out on the street by 5 am, which was before the curfew for Jews was lifted each day. Later that fall, Liese was placed on a transport to Theresienstadt. Conditions in the overcrowded camp were horrible, with little food and poor sanitary conditions, which aided the spread of disease. Thousands of prisoners died every month. In mid-April 1945, Liese sent a Zulassungsmarke, an official camp permit allowing the recipient to send a 20 kilogram parcel of food to an inmate, to her daughter Eva via the Jewish Council of Elders in Prague. They received the permit and summoned Eva to claim it, but she was carrying out compulsory work and did not receive the summons. Hana was at the hospital, so neither one knew Liese had requested the package.

    On May 2, the International Red Cross took over Theresienstadt. The guards fled, and on May 9, the Soviet Army entered the camp and took control. The war had ended on May 7 with Germany’s surrender. Liese returned to Prague and was reunited with her family. They later learned that Erwin Pick, Hedwig Pick, Berta Kassler, and Leo Polacek had all been deported to concentration camps to the east and killed. Their relative Berta Deutsch had also been deported and killed, and likely never received the food parcel that Liese had sent her. Liese’s first husband was no longer part of her life. She remarried and took the surname Kredbova. Hana married, and began working for the Czechoslovak News Agency. Liese, 75, died on July 15, 1978, in Prague. Hana, 77, died on September 9, 2007.

    Physical Details

    Information Forms
    Object Type
    Safe conducts (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Document printed on rectangular, light weight, light brown paper with a perforated top edge and printed with black and red German text. At the top and bottom, there is printed and stamped information about the issuer. In the center, there are several lines of preprinted text and a handwritten signature with a line of text stamped diagonally over top. Below is more preprinted text with blank spaces that have been faintly stamped with dates. At the bottom is a signature and a circular pink stamp with a Star of David in the center surrounded by text.
    overall: Height: 5.625 inches (14.288 cm) | Width: 4.000 inches (10.16 cm)
    overall : paper, ink
    front, left, stamped, blue ink : ARBEITSEINSATZ [LABOR INPUTS]
    front, bottom, stamped and handwritten in a circle, red and black ink : ÄLTESTENRAT DER JUDEN IN PRAG * ZIDOVSKA RADA STARSICHVPRAZE* / illegible signature [The Oldest Council of Jews in Prague / Jewish Council of Elders PRAGUE]

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The ticket was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1992 by Hana Rehakova, the daughter of Elisabeth Trausel.
    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:
    2023-05-17 13:38:20
    This page:

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