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Nazi Germany, 5 mark note from the album of a Waffen-SS officer acquired by an American soldier

Object | Accession Number: 2013.455.3

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    Nazi Germany, 5 mark note from the album of a Waffen-SS officer acquired by an American soldier

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Nazi Germany, 5 [funf] mark note from the album of Hauptsturmfuhrer Gerhard Pleiss, an officer in the Waffen-SS, SS-Panzer-Division Leibstandarte SS "Adolf Hitler," 1st Company. Notes of this type were first issued as supplemental currency at the beginning of World War I (1914-1918) and remained in circulation until the hyperinflation of 1923. In 1936, the 21 year old Pleiss volunteered for the SS and was accepted into the Leibstandart, Hitler's personal bodyguard. He was awarded for his leadership in the May 1940 invasion of France and the April 1941 Balkans campaign. In June 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union. Pleiss was killed by a mine on November 17, 1941, during the offensive on Rostov-on-Don. The note was preserved in Pleiss's photograph album, which was brought back from the war by Milton V. Elliott, an American soldier.
    Date
    issue:  after 1939 June 15-before 1941 November
    Geography
    issue: Berlin (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Wendie Theus
    Markings
    face, upper left and lower right, red ink : V • 7769866
    face, upper center, brown ink : Reichsbanknote / Fünf / Reichsmark [Reichsbanknote / Five / Reichsmark]
    face, lower center, brown ink : Ausgegeben auf Grund des Gesetzes über / die Deutsche Reichsbank vom 15. Juni1939 / Berlin, Den 1. August 1942 / Der Präsident / der Deutschen Reichsbank / Walter Funk [Issued on the basis of the law on / the German Reichsbank of 15 June 1939 / Berlin, the first August 1942 / The President / the German Reichsbank / Walter Funk]
    face, lower left corner, brown ink : 5
    back, top center, brown ink : Reichsmark
    back, bottom center, brown ink : Reichsbanknote
    back, upper and lower left and upper and lower right, brown ink : 5
    back, across bottom, brown and green ink : WER BANKNOTEN NACHMACHT ODER VERFÄLSCHT ODER NACHGEMACHTE ODER VERFÄLSCHTE SICH / VERSCHAFFT UND IN VERKEHR BRINGT, WIRD MIT ZUCHTHAUS NICHT UNTER ZWEI JAHREN BESTRAFT [WHO MIMICS OR FALSIFIES OR COUNTERFEIT OR FALSELY PROCURES AND PUTS INTO CIRCULATION THIS BANKNOTE IS PUNISHED WITH JAIL NOT UNDER TWO YEARS]
    Contributor
    Original owner: Gerhard Pleiss
    Issuer: Deutsche Reichsbank
    Subject: Gerhard Pleiss
    Subject: Milton V. Elliott
    Biography
    Gerhard (Gerd) Pleiss was born on April 20, 1915, in Remscheid, Germany. He attended gymnasium in Dortmund and then began an apprenticeship with a dentist. He volunteered for the SS in April 1936 and was accepted into the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, 1st SS Company. This unit was Hitler's personal bodyguard, charged with guarding Hitler, his office, and personal residences. Pleiss attended SS-Junker school in Braunschweig and, in April 1939, was promoted to Untersturmfuhrer. He participated in the invasion of France in May 1940 and was awarded the Iron Cross, 1st class. In 1941, the Leibstandarte became part of the Waffen SS, during preparations for Operation Barbarossa, the planned invasion of the Soviet Union. SS-Hauptsturmführer Pleiss was made commander, 1st Company LSSAH, for the campaign in the Balkans. In April 1941, during the Battle of Vevi in northern Greece, Pleiss's unit captured Klidi Pass from British troops, opening the way into Greece. He was wounded, but remained in command. Pleiss was awarded the Knight's Cross, the highest award for bravery and leadership, which was personally presented to him by Hitler on April 21 in Berlin. Operation Barbarossa was launched on June 22, 1941. Pleiss was mortally wounded on November 17, 1941, when he stepped on a land mine during the attack on Rostov-on-Don (Rostov-na-Donu, Russia.)
    Milton Verne Elliott was born on May 25, 1921, in Thayer, Kansas, to Vern H. and Ann C. Glentzer Elliott. He had a sister Ernestine. In August 1940, Milton enlisted in the United States Army. America entered World War II in December 1941. At some point, Milton was deployed to the European Theater of Operations. He returned to the US after the war ended in May 1945. In 1948, Milton married Gladys Baldwin. The couple had one daughter. Milton, 82, died in October 2003 in Missouri.

    Physical Details

    Language
    German
    Classification
    Exchange Media
    Category
    Money
    Physical Description
    Rectangular currency on watermarked paper in red/brown ink on a green and brown background, with a wide, offwhite left margin with the serial number in red ink in the top corner, and thedenomination 5, a Reichsadler seal in the bottom corner. It has an offcenter rectangle with a patterned border, with German text, the denomination Funf Reichsmark, and a framed portrait of an idealized Hitler Youth, above the serial number in red ink. It has a green flourish and a stylized P underprint. The reverse has a blank, wide, offwhite right margin with a watermarked image of an oak leaf branch. There is an offcenter rectangle with an image of a colonnaded building with a lion statue, flanked by a woman with crops and a sickle and an aproned man with a tool and a plank, and German text. The denomination 5 is near the corners within decorated bands across the top and bottom. The red/brown latticework background has a central green streak. The paper is soiled, with folds and a side tear.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 2.750 inches (6.985 cm) | Width: 5.500 inches (13.97 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 bank note was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2013 by Wendie Theus, the daughter of Milton V. Elliott.
    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:
    2023-08-28 08:08:16
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn85298

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