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Weimar Germany, 50000 mark note, from the album of a Waffen-SS officer acquired by an American soldier

Object | Accession Number: 2013.455.5

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    Weimar Germany, 50000 mark note, from the album of a Waffen-SS officer acquired by an American soldier


    Brief Narrative
    Weimar Germany emergency 50,000 [funfzig tausend] 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 issued in 1922 as emergency currency during the years of hyperinflation. 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.
    issue:  approximately 1919 June 24
    issue: Berlin (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Wendie Theus
    face, lower left, red/brown ink : 50000 / E ·01791793
    face, upper center, brown ink : Reichsbanknote / Fünfzigtausend / Mark
    face, lower center, brown ink : zahlt die Reichsbankhauptkasse in Berlin / gegen diese Banknote dem Einlieferer / Berlin, den 19.November 1922 / Reichsbankdirektorium / engraved signatures
    back, fou corners, purple outline : 50000
    back, top center, purple ink : Reichsbanknote
    back, center, purple and white ink : 50000
    back, bottom center, purple ink : Fünfzigtausend Mark
    Original owner: Gerhard Pleiss
    Subject: Gerhard Pleiss
    Issuer: Reichsbankdirektorium
    Subject: Milton V. Elliott
    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

    Exchange Media
    Physical Description
    Oversize, rectangular paper currency on threaded, watermarked security paper in black and brown ink with light green tinting, a security measure. The face has an embellished double frame. On the left side is a portrait of a man in cap and gown, Burgermaster Brauweiler by B Bruyn, a wealthy 16th century merchant, above the denomination 50,000 in an embellished medallion, and the serial number in red/brown ink. The right frame has the serial number at the top. In the center is the denomination Funfzigtausend Mark over an underprint of the Imperial Eagle, with a bank seal in each bottom corner. The far right margin has a large, ornate embellishment with 50000 and an oak leaf watermark, visible on both sides. The note is soiled with deep creases and wrinkles.
    overall: Height: 4.375 inches (11.113 cm) | Width: 7.500 inches (19.05 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 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 08:08:04
    This page:

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