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Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp scrip, 20 kronen note, acquired by a German Jewish refugee in the British army

Object | Accession Number: 2012.478.4

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    Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp scrip, 20 kronen note, acquired by a German Jewish refugee in the British army

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    Brief Narrative
    Scrip, valued at 20 kronen, distributed in Theresienstadt (Terezin) ghetto-labor camp, acquired by Manfred Gans, a German Jewish refugee who served as a Marine Commando for the British Army from May 1944 to May 1945. The scrip was issued in the camp his parents had been deported to in 1943 and he placed this note into his Soldier’s Book. In 1938, to escape Nazi-controlled Germany, Manfred immigrated to England. After Great Britain declared war against Germany on September 3, 1939, he was classified as an enemy alien, arrested, and sent to an internment camp on the Isle of Man. Manfred later enlisted in the British Army, where he spent two years assigned to a labor unit before being recruited for a Special Forces troop, which landed at Normandy on June 6, 1944. As his unit advanced through France, Belgium, and northern Germany, it was Manfred’s mission to infiltrate German positions to convince soldiers to surrender, interrogate prisoners, and gather intelligence. Manfred learned from his uncle that his parents had been imprisoned in Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp in German-occupied Czechoslovakia, but he did not know if they were still alive. He drove across enemy lines to find out, and learned they had survived. They were reunited in Theresienstadt on May 11, 1945. His parents returned to the Netherlands in July and he was demobilized in August. Manfred married Anita Lamm in 1948 and moved to the United States in 1950.
    use:  after 1943 January 01-before 1945 May 09
    publication:  approximately 1943 January 01
    issue: Theresienstadt (Concentration camp); Terezin (Ustecky kraj, Czech Republic)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Daniel Gans and Aviva Gans-Rosenberg
    face, lower right corner, printed, black ink : 20
    reverse, upper left, serial number, printed, red ink : 004974
    reverse, lower right, series letter, printed, red ink : M
    reverse, upper right and lower left corners, printed, green ink : 20
    reverse, center, printed, black and green ink : Quittung / über / ZWANZIG / KRONEN / THERESIENSTADT, AM 1.JÄNNER 1943 DER ALTESTE DER JUDEN / IN THERESIENSTADT / Jakob Edelstein [Receipt / of / TWENTY CROWNS / THERESIENSTADT, ON 1. JANUARY 1943 THE ELDER OF THE JEWS IN THERESIENSTADT / Jakob Edelstein]
    Subject: Manfred Gans
    Designer: Peter Kien
    Printer: National Bank of Prague
    Issuer: Der Alteste der Juden in Theresienstadt
    Manfred Gans was born on April 27, 1922, in Borken, Germany, to Moritz and Else Fraenkel Gans. His family had been in Borken for over 300 years. Moritz was born on July 7, 1885. He was a German Army veteran who had lost a lung and a leg in Italy during World War I. Moritz was the only Jew ever elected to the city council. Else was born on September 1, 1891, in Volksen, Germany. In 1924, Moritz and Else established a prosperous textile manufacturing business. Manfred’s older brother, Karl, was born on May 23, 1920, and his younger brother, Theodor (Theo), was born on May 1, 1925. The brothers were raised Orthodox. They attended the Jewish elementary school and a Catholic high school.
    In January 1933, Adolf Hitler became the chancellor of Germany. Manfred and his brothers spent that summer at their Aunt and Uncle’s hachshara farm in Gut Neuendorf. While there, Manfred met Anita Lamm, the daughter of his father’s best friend. Anita was born on August 31, 1923, in Berlin, to Leo and Margaret Lamm. In 1935, as government persecution of Jews increased, Moritz began moving his money out of the country. In 1936, Karl immigrated to Palestine. In spring 1938, Moritz helped the Lamm family immigrate secretly to the United States. After they left, Anita and Manfred began writing to each other.
    In July 1938, Manfred went to England and stayed with a Jewish family, the Jacobs. He was supposed to return home in the fall, but his parents told him to stay. With the help of the German Jewish Aide Committee, Manfred relocated to Manchester and found work in a factory’s repair shop. Manfred wanted to continue his Orthodox lifestyle, so Mr. Jacobs introduced him to a Jewish family in Manchester, the Steinharts. They suggested that he stay at a relative’s boarding house, and often invited him to partake in religious activities and socialize with their community. After the November 9 - 10, 1938, Kristallnacht pogrom in Germany, Moritz and Else sent Theo out of the country to a boarding school in Kent, England.
    In August 1939, Moritz and Else left Germany as advised by a family friend who was the head of the Gestapo in Borken. They settled in Zandvoort, Netherlands. On September 1, Germany invaded Poland, and two days later, Great Britain declared war. Manfred, as a German refugee, was labeled an enemy alien. He had to register with the government and go before a tribunal to evaluate his level of risk to the nation’s security. He was classified as level C or no risk. In spring 1940, Germany invaded Western Europe. In early summer, Manfred was arrested for being an enemy alien and sent to an internment camp in Bury and then Shrewsbury. In September, he was shipped to a camp on the Isle of Man. In December, the British government lowered the enlistment age for enemy aliens to eighteen and Manfred enrolled in the army. He was assigned to the Pioneer Corps, an unarmed labor unit. In 1941, Manfred stopped receiving letters from his parents.
    At the end of 1942, Manfred was interviewed and selected for a special assignment. He was transferred to Aberdovey, Wales, to train as a member of a Special Forces unit: the Three Troop of the Tenth Inter-Allied Commando. The unit consisted of fluent German speakers, most of them Jewish refugees. Everyone in the troop had to leave behind their life and assume a new non-Jewish identity: Manfred’s Welsh alias was Fred Gray. The troop went through a year of rigorous training in military tactics and intelligence, as well as physical conditioning. In May 1944, Manfred was assigned to the 41st Royal Marine Commando. He was briefed about the planned invasion of Normandy, and landed on the French coast with the unit on June 6. Manfred went out on every patrol and attack, and his mission was to infiltrate German lines and convince the soldiers to surrender. He helped his unit capture German positions, interrogate prisoners, and gather intelligence in the field as they advanced through France and Belgium. In late 1944, Manfred received a field promotion to officer.
    Manfred’s unit was assigned to northern Germany, and on April 1, 1945, he arrived in Borken. He found his parents’ house still standing, and learned that it had been used as a Gestapo headquarters; the wine cellar as a torture chamber. Manfred’s American uncle wrote to tell him that, in 1941, his parents had gone into hiding in Leeuwarden, Netherlands. In 1943, they were betrayed, and transported to Westerbork transit camp and then deported to Theresienstadt labor camp-ghetto in German occupied Czechoslovakia. He did not know if they were still alive, but by early May, he requested permission to take a jeep and a driver to Terezin to find out. Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945. Manfred arrived on May 11, two days after the Soviets liberated the camp. A registration clerk told him that his parents were still alive. He found them and they talked all night. Manfred had to leave the next day to return to his unit. The roads were still dangerous to travel, and the camp was in quarantine, so his parents stayed behind at the camp. Manfred did take many letters from other inmates, including one from a former judge at The Hague, addressed to Princess Juliana. His delivery of the letter led to the repatriation of his parents and other Dutch prisoners, back to the Netherlands.
    Manfred received a field promotion to captain. He served as the Deputy Commander of the Intelligence Section at Sennelager, a prisoner of war camp for high ranking Nazis being questioned and prepared for war crimes trials. In July, his parents returned to the Netherlands. In August 1945, Manfred was demobilized, returned to England, and became a British citizen. In 1948, Manfred travelled to New York and married Anita Lamm, who had written to him throughout the war under the name Joan Gary. In August 1950, Manfred immigrated to the United States. The couple had two children. In the 1950s, his parents, Moritz and Else, and brother, Theo, all immigrated to Israel, joining Karl, now named Gershon Kadar, who had served in the Jewish Brigade during the war. Anita, age 67, died in January 1991. Manfred, age 88, died on September 12, 2010, in Fort Lee, New Jersey.
    Franz Peter Kien was born January 1, 1919, in Varnsdorf, Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic), to Leonard and Olga Frankl Kien. His father Leonard was born in 1886, in Varnsdorf, and was a member of the German-speaking Jewish population in the, the Sudetenalnd, which bordered Germany. Leonard was a textile manufacturer with his own factory. Peter’s mother Olga was born in 1898, in Bzenec, Austro-Hungary (Czech Republic), to Jewish parents. After 1929, the Kien family moved to Brno. Peter enrolled at the German Gymnasium, where he excelled at drawing, painting, and writing. In 1936, he graduated and moved to Prague to study at the Academy of Fine Arts. He also attended the Officina Pragensis, a private graphic design school run by a well-known Jewish artist, Hugo Steiner-Prag.

    On September 29, 1938, Germany annexed the Sudetenland. On March 15, 1939, Germany invaded Prague and annexed the Bohemia and Moravia provinces of Czechoslovakia, ruled by a Reich Protector. Jews were banned from participation in government, businesses, and organization, including schools. Peter had to leave the Academy, but continued to study at the Officina Pragensis. He also taught at Vinohrady Synagogue. In September 1940, Peter married Ilse Stranska, who was born on May 9, 1915, in Pilsen, to Jewish parents.

    In late September 1941, Reinhard Heydrich, the SS head of RSHA, Reich Main Security Office, became Reich Protector. Soon there were regular deportations of Jews to concentration camps. At the end of November, Theresienstadt concentration and transit camp near Prague got its first shipment of Jewish prisoners. On December 14, Peter was transported to Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp. He was assigned to the technical department where he worked as a draftsman and designer alongside other artists, including Bedrich Fritta, Leo Haas, and Jiri Lauscher. On July 16, 1942, Peter’s wife Ilse arrived in the camp. On January 30, 1943, Peter’s parents Leonard and Olga were transported from Bzenec to Terezin. Peter was assigned major projects by the Jewish Council that administered the camp for the Germans, such as the scrip receipts used in place of money in the camp. He secretly documented the inmate’s daily life, creating portraits and other drawings, and wrote plays, poems, and an operatic libretto. On October 16, 1944, Peter’s wife Ilse and his parents Leonard and Olga were selected for deportation. Peter volunteered to go with them. Before leaving, Peter and his family were sent to Auschwitz concentration camp in German-occupied Poland. Peter survived the selection process, soon fell ill, likely with typhus, and died at age 25 in late October 1944. His wife and parents were killed at Auschwitz. Some of the work that Peter left with other prisoners or hid at Theresienstadt survived and has been exhibited worldwide.

    Physical Details

    German Hebrew
    Exchange Media
    Object Type
    Scrip (aat)
    Physical Description
    Theresienstadt scrip printed on rectangular, off-white paper in green and black ink. The paper contains a watermark in the form of a repeating geometric pattern. On the face is a rectangle with geometric patterning and a wide, off-white margin to the right. On the left, within the rectangle, is a vignette with an image of Moses holding 2 stone tablets inscribed with the 10 Commandments in Hebrew. To his right is the denomination centered between lines of German text. In the lower right corner is a Star of David with the denomination below. The reverse has a rectangle with geometric patterning and a wide off-white margin to the left. Within the rectangle is a central yellow streak, medallion, German text centered above and below a scrollwork line, the denomination on the upper right, and signature on the lower right. In the lower left corner is the denomination below a Star of David in a striped circle. The serial number in the upper left corner and the series letter on the lower right are both in red ink. There is brown discoloration and several small tears along the right edge.
    overall: Height: 2.625 inches (6.668 cm) | Width: 5.250 inches (13.335 cm)
    overall : paper, ink

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    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 Daniel Gans and Aviva Gans-Rosenberg, the children of Manfred and Anita Lamm Gans.
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-25 09:21:37
    This page:

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