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Bread and flour ration card stub issued to a Jewish Czech man

Object | Accession Number: 1992.132.8

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    Brief Narrative
    Ration card stub for bread rolls, wheat or wheat flour valid from November 23 – December 20, 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) survived the war.
    use:  1942 November 23-1942 December 20
    use: Prague (Czech Republic)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Hana Rehakova
    front, top, printed black : 42. Ausgabe vydáni 11A / gültig von Plati od / 23. XI. -20.XII. 1942 [42nd edition / valid from / November 23- December 20 1942]
    front, top, right, printed seal, black ink : Ministerium für Land- und Forstwirtschaft / Ministerstvo zemědělství a lesnictvi [Ministry of Land and Forestry]
    front, center, printed black ink : Brottarte lístek na chléb / Böhmen und Mähren Čechy a Morava [Bread roll / Bohemia and Moravia]
    front, center, preprinted and handwritten, black ink : Name Jméno Dr. Josef Polacek (handwritten) / Wohnort Bydliště Praha V (handwritten) / Straße Ulice Norimbeska 22 (handwritten) [Name / Place of Residence Prague / Street]
    front, bottom, printed, black ink : Ohne Namenesintragung ungültig. Nicht übertragbar. - Sorgfältig aufbewahren / Bez vepsáni jměna neplatně. Nepřenosně. - Pečlivě uschovejte! [Invalid without name entry. Not transferable. - Keep in a safe place!]
    front, bottom, printed black ink : a - Ubschnitte gelten für Weizgebäd oder Weizenmehl. / a - ústřižky platí pro bílé pečivo nebo pšeničnon mouku [coupons valid for wheat or wheat flour]
    front, bottom coupon, printed, black ink : 42 BM CM / Sonderabschnitt Zvláštní ústřižek 11A / 23. XI. – 20. XII.1942 [Special coupon November 23- December 20 1942]
    Subject: Josef Polacek
    Issuer: Ministry of Land and Forestry
    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 pink paper with a light red latticework and text patterned background and black German and Czech text preprinted in fraktur font. In the top right corner is the seal of the Bohemia; a circular seal with a stylized, two tailed lion in the center ringed by text. An encircled J is stamped on the top and bottom of the document. 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 text. There is a black border around the perimeter and a square coupon is still attached to the bottom.
    overall: Height: 4.625 inches (11.748 cm) | Width: 3.375 inches (8.573 cm)
    overall : paper, ink
    front, top and bottom, stamped, black ink : J within a circle

    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:
    2023-05-17 13:38:50
    This page:

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