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Łódź Ghetto ration card issued to a ghetto inmate

Object | Accession Number: 1988.68.1.2

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    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    One of three ration cards saved by Beno Helmer, issued when he and his family were incarcerated in Łódź Ghetto in German occupied Poland from 1940- spring 1944. There are cards from three family members: Beno, Dora, and Sonia. Nazi Germany occupied Poland on September 1, 1939. Łódź was renamed Litzmannstadt and, in February 1940, the Germans forcibly relocated Beno, 18, and his family, along with the entire large Jewish population, into a sealed ghetto. All ghetto residents had to work in order to receive a ration card for food. There were severe food shortages and overcrowding and many died of starvation and disease. In spring 1944, as the ghetto was liquidated, Beno and his family were sent to Auschwitz concentration camp. Beno was selected for labor and sent to a subcamp of Gross-Rosen that supplied slave labor to the metalworks factory, Krupp Bertha-Werk, at Laskowitz-Meleschwitz. He was later transferred to Buchenwald, then Ludwigslust, a Neuengamme subcamp. Beno joined a Polish forced labor group that was conscripted into the Soviet Army. He was liberated by American soldiers while in a Soviet prisoner-of-war camp. The war ended in early May 1945 when Germany surrendered. All of Beno's family was killed, except for one sister.
    Date
    issue:  approximately 1940
    Geography
    issue: Litzmannstadt-Getto (Łódź, Poland); Łódź (Poland)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Beno Helmer
    Contributor
    Subject: Beno Helmer
    Biography
    Beno Helmer was born in 1923 in Teplice-Sanov, Czechoslovakia, to Isaak and Dora Helmer. As a young man, Beno used his foreign language skills to land small movie roles. He and his family attempted to settle in Hungary. In 1939, because they did not have legal immigration papers, they were deported to Łódź, Poland. In February 1940, the German authorities set up a ghetto where Beno and his family and all Jewish residents were forced to move. In 1942, Beno had to perform forced labor outside the ghetto. Through an underground contact, he got a job under a false identity, posing as a non-Jewish German. He assisted the resistance by collecting information. He also helped commit acts of sabotage, and became an expert at derailing trains. Beno returned to the ghetto when his father became sick. He remained with his family until they were deported. In spring 1944, the Łódź ghetto was liquidated and the family was sent to Auschwitz concentration camp. Beno was separated from his family. He was sent to a series of German concentration camps, including a subcamp of Gross-Rosen associated with the metalworks factory, Krupp Bertha-Werk, at Laskowitz-Meleschwitz, then to Buchenwald, and to Ludwigslust, a subcamp of Neuengamme. He was liberated by American soldiers while in a Soviet prisoner-of-war camp. In an attempt to get back to Poland, he joined a Polish forced labor group that was later drafted into the Soviet Army. The war ended in early May 1945 when Germany surrendered. All of Beno's family was killed, except one sister, who he found after the war. He spent time hunting for Nazi war criminals. Beno remained in Europe for several years, but eventually immigrated to the United States

    Physical Details

    Language
    Polish German
    Classification
    Exchange Media
    Category
    Coupons
    Object Type
    Ration cards (lcsh)
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 5.375 inches (13.653 cm) | Width: 7.875 inches (20.003 cm)
    Materials
    overall : paper, ink

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The ration card was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1988 by Beno Helmer.
    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:
    2023-05-03 14:12:53
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn780

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