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Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp scrip, 2 kronen note, saved by a former German Jewish inmate

Object | Accession Number: 1995.78.1

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    Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp scrip, 2 kronen note, saved by a former German Jewish inmate


    Brief Narrative
    Theresienstadt scrip, value 2 [zwei] kronen, acquired by Alfred Fabian, an inmate in Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp in German occupied Czechoslovakia from March 1943-October 1944. Currency was confiscated from deportees and the SS ordered the Jewish Council to create a currency for exchange only in the camp. This was to create an illusion of normalcy and there was little to buy. On May 17, 1943, Alfred, wife Ruth, 5 year old daughter Ingrid, and Alfred’s mother Erna were deported to Theresienstadt. On October 12, 1944, the family was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau killing center, where Ruth, Ingrid, and Erna were gassed on arrival. On November 19, 1944, Alfred was sent to Niederorschel slave labor camp, a Buchenwald subcamp in Germany. Niederorschel was evacuated on April 1, 1945. Alfred was sent to Buchenwald where he was liberated April 11 by the 761st Tank Battalion, US Army.
    issue:  1943 January 01
    received:  approximately 1942 March
    issue: Theresienstadt (Concentration camp); Terezin (Ustecky kraj, Czech Republic)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Alfred Fabian
    face, lower right corner, red ink : 2
    reverse, upper left corner, plate mark, red ink : A023
    reverse, lower left and upper right corner, red ink : 2
    reverse, center, red ink : Quittung / über / ZWEI KRONEN / THERESIENSTADT, AM 1.JANNER 1943 DER ALTESTE DER JUDEN / IN THERESIENSTADT / Jakob Edelstein [Receipt / of / TWO CROWNS / THERESIENSTADT, ON 1. JANUARY 1943 THE ELDER OF THE JEWS IN THERESIENSTADT / Jakob Edelstein]
    Subject: Alfred Fabian
    Printer: National Bank of Prague
    Designer: Peter Kien
    Issuer: Der Alteste der Juden in Theresienstadt
    Alfred Fabian was born on May 24, 1910, in Neumark, Germany (now Nowe Miasto Lubawskie, Poland), to a Jewish couple. Alfred’s mother was Erna Leyser Fabian, who was born on December 19, 1882, in Culmsee, Prussia (Chelmza, Poland). Alfred’s father died in 1921 at age 41. Alfred was a gardener and lived in Berlin. He married Ruth Imber, who was born on February 23, 1909, in Schulitz, Kreis Bromberg, Germany (Bydgoszcz, Poland), to Elias and Erstina Koralczyk Imber.

    In January 1933, Hitler came to power in Germany. Anti-Semitic policies were enacted soon after. On January 23, 1938, Alfred and Ruth had a daughter, Ingrid Johanna. On November 9, 1938, during Kristallnacht, Alfred witnessed the synagogue being destroyed. On September 1, 1941, Jews over the age of six were required to wear yellow Star of David badges. On May 10, 1943, Alfred, Ruth, Ingrid, and Alfred’s mother Erna were arrested by the Gestapo and brought to the Hamburgerstrasse clearing station in Berlin. On May 17, they were deported to Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp in Czechoslovakia. On October 12, 1944, they were transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau killing center on Transport Eq. Alfred’s wife, daughter, and mother were murdered on October 13, the day they arrived. In November 1944, Alfred was transferred to Niederorschel slave labor camp, a Buchenwald subcamp in Germany that provided worked for Junkers-Werke aircraft factories. He arrived on November 19 and was assigned prisoner number 95769. On April 1, 1945, Niederorschel was evacuated. Alfred was sent to Buchenwald concentration camp. On April 11, Alfred was liberated in Buchenwald by the 761st Tank Battalion, US Army.

    On May 6, Alfred was released from the custody of the US Army. He returned to Berlin. Alfred’s father- and mother-in-law, Elias and Erstina, survived imprisonment in Theresienstadt. The rest of his family perished. On June 12, 1947, Alfred sailed from Bremen on the SS Ernie Pyle, arriving in New York on June 22. He was sponsored by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS). Alfred, age 88, died on November 5, 1998, in Bradley Beach, 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

    Exchange Media
    Object Type
    Scrip (aat)
    Physical Description
    Theresienstadt scrip printed on rectangular, offwhite paper in black and red ink. The face has a vignette with an image of Moses, a bearded man with a wrinkled brow, holding 2 stone tablets with the 10 Commandments in Hebrew. To the right is the denomination 2 and German text. The background rectangle has a geometric latticework pattern. On the right is a wide, offwhite border with 2 in the bottom corner below a Star of David. The reverse has a background rectangle with an interlocked diamond pattern, overprinted with German text, an engraved signature, and a scrollwork line. The denomination 2 is in the upper right corner. On the left is a wide, off-white border with 2 in the lower corner below a Star of David in a lined circle. The plate letter and number are in the upper left corner. Scrip is creased with light wear.
    overall: Height: 2.125 inches (5.398 cm) | Width: 4.375 inches (11.113 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 Theresienstadt scrip was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1995 by Alfred Fabian.
    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 18:22:48
    This page:

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