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Nazi Germany, 1 Rentenmark note, owned by a former concentration camp prisoner

Object | Accession Number: 2013.223.3

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    Nazi Germany, 1 Rentenmark note, owned by a former concentration camp prisoner


    Brief Narrative
    1937 German 1 (eine) rentenmark note owned by Abe Fingerhut. Nazi Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, and one week later occupied Łódź where Abe lived with his wife and infant son, Jozek. In February 1940, the family was put in the Jewish ghetto which was closed in with barbed wire. Abe, a tailor, worked in the ghetto textile industry. Conditions were terrible in the ghetto: it was extremely overcrowded, food was scarce, and disease and malnutrition were common. Jozek died in July 1941. The day before the ghetto was liquidated on August 4, 1944, Abe was sent to Auschwitz. In September, he was transferred to Siegmar-Schoenau labor camp, a subcamp of Flossenbürg, where he was assigned prisoner number 26495. In January 1945, he was marched to Hohenstein-Ernstthal labor camp. Abe was liberated by Soviet troops on May 7, 1945, on a forced march to Flossenbürg. He returned to Łódź and discovered that his parents, Samuel and Chana, had been sent to Chelmno killing center and his wife died while in forced labor service. Abe lived with a group of other survivors, but they felt threatened by the Soviet occupation and fled west. Abe went to Lampertheim displaced persons camp in Germany. He emigrated to the United States in 1947.
    issue:  1937 January 30
    issue: Berlin (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Diane Finger
    face, upper center, red ink : B · 11361350 / 1
    face, upper center, green ink : Rentenbankschein / 1 [1 Pension paper]
    face, center, green ink : Eine Rentenmark
    face, lower center, green ink : Ausgegeben [paper torn] / Verordnung vom 15, Oktober 1923 (R.G.B1.I.5.963) / BERLIN, den 30. Januar 1937. / Deutsche Rentenbank / Präsident und Vorstand: / 1 / [5 engraved signatures] / 1 [ Issued... / Decree of 15 October 1923 (RGB1.I.5.963) / BERLIN, January 30, 1937. / German pension bank / President and Board: 5 signatures
    back, margin, lower left corner, green ink : 1 / Rentenmark
    back, right edge of left margin, green ink : Wer Rentenbankscheine nachmacht oder verfälscht oder nachgemachte oder verfälschte / sich verschafft und in Verkehr bringt wird mit Zuchthaus nicht unter zwei Jahren bestraft [Those who imitate or counterfeit banknotes or distorts or falsifies, procures and markets it, is punishable with imprisonment of not less than two years]
    back, upper center, green ink : Deutsche Rentenbank
    back, center right, green ink : Rentenmark
    back, lower center, bold font, green ink : Eine Rentenmark
    back, corners of rectangle, green ink : 1
    Subject: Albert Finger
    Issuer: Deutsche Rentenbank
    Abe Fingerhut was born on December 27, 1910, in Łódź, Poland, to Samuel and Chana Fingerhut. He was the second of four children, an older and younger sister, and a brother Josef. They were from a shtetl, Averchek (?), a small town with a large Jewish population, and had relocated to Łódź for job opportunities in the large textile industry. As a child, Abe had been recruited to sing with the Yiddish theater star, Molly Picon, and in Łódź, he sang at the Reform synagogue. Abe attended a Jewish high school and spoke Hebrew, Yiddish, Polish, German, and Russian. He worked in the textile industry as a tailor. He met his wife in 1930, but they could not marry until her older sister, who had left for Palestine, wed in Tel Aviv. The family had Zionist sympathies and in 1933, Abe’s younger sister immigrated to Palestine, joining an aunt and uncle already there. Abe and his wife had a son Josek, born on July 8, 1939. They lived in a mixed neighborhood in Łódź and were connected to both the Jewish and Polish societies.
    On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. Jews in Łódź began to experience persecution almost immediately. In February 1940, the ghetto was created. Abe and his family were put in the ghetto, where Abe worked in the ghetto textile industry. On May 1, 1940, the ghetto was sealed with barbed wire fencing. On July 9, 1941, Josek, age 2, died. When the ghetto was being evacuated, Abe attempted to bribe a guard to take care of his parents. Abe remained in Łódź until the day before the ghetto was liquidated on August 4, 1944, when he was sent to Auschwitz. On September 10, 1944, Abe was deported to Siegmar-Schoenau labor camp, a subcamp of Flossenbürg concentration camp, and assigned prisoner number 26495. In January 1945, the prisoners were forced to march to Hohenstein-Ernstthal labor camp. The camp was evacuated in April and the prisoners marched toward Flossenbürg. On May 7, 1945, the day Germany surrendered, Abe was liberated by Soviet forces in Luditz (Zlutice, Czech Republic).
    Abe’s family perished in the Holocaust. His wife was deported to be a forced laborer and the family believed she was sent to Stutthof and died on a ferry that sank. Abe’s parents, Samuel and Chana, were deported to Chelmno killing center. After liberation, Abe returned to Łódź and lived with a group of survivors. He dug up family photographs that he had buried. Over time, he began to feel threatened by the Soviet occupation and people started to disappear. They decided to flee west and register as displaced persons. Abe went to Lampertheim displaced persons camp in Germany. On July 1, 1947, he left for Bremen, where he boarded the SS Marine Marlin on July 8, arriving in New York on July 17. His emigration was sponsored by his uncle, Harris Kleinfeld, who lived in Brooklyn. Shortly after arriving, he moved to Chelsea, Massachusetts, to stay with distant cousins. He worked in a haberdashery. He Americanized his name to Albert Finger. He married in 1949 and had two children. The family settled in Quincy, MA, where Albert purchased a tailor shop. He retired in 1973 and moved to Florida in 1976. Albert, age 80, died on September 1, 1991, in Palm Beach, Florida.

    Physical Details

    Exchange Media
    Physical Description
    Rectangular, offwhite paper currency printed in green ink. The face has a red and green latticework rectangle with a green chainlink border with a shield flourishes on the left and a large denomination 1 in the center. Superimposed over this in the serial number in red ink, with 7 lines of German text below, with the text denomination in the center. In the upper right and bottom corners of the rectangle is the denomination 1. There are 2 vertical lines of German text along the left side of the rectangle.There is a wide right margin with the denomination 1 in the upper corner and a circular bank seal embossed in the bottom corner. The back has a latticework rectangle with the denomination 1 in each corner. There are 2 large, geometric patterned bands in the center: the left has a sheaf of wheat; the right has a patterned 1 in the center, crossed by a banner with Rentenmark. The bands are connected by a geometric floral motif and there is German text across the top and bottom cente. There is a wide left margin with the denomination 1 above Rentenmark in the bottom corner over the embossed seal. The note is very worn, creased, and torn.
    overall: Height: 2.500 inches (6.35 cm) | Width: 4.750 inches (12.065 cm)
    overall : paper, ink

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The currency was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2013 by Diane Finger, the daughter of Albert Finger.
    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 18:26:58
    This page:

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