In the spring of 1942, the Nazis decided that a Ghetto bank should be created at Theresienstadt. The bank notes were designed by Czech artist/poet Petr Klein, and printed at the National Bank in Prague. Klein was born in 1919, and was one of many Jewish artists interned at Theresienstadt. He later died of disease soon after arriving at KZ-Auschwitz in October 1944, along with his wife and parents, none of whom survived the camp. His satirical play "The Marionettes", was performed at Theresienstadt 25 times.
When Reinhard Heydrich was presented with Klein's design for the banknotes, he ordered that the image of Moses should be altered, stating that it appeared "too Aryan". Heydrich instructed the artist to adapt the image so that it resembled the classic Nazi caricature of the Jew. Hence, the larger ears, long hooked nose and curly hair were added. One further directive from Heydrich that was added concerned the tablet that the caricature holds. The Ten Commandments where allowed to be present, however, Heydrich insisted that the caricature's hand be placed over the commandment "Thou Shall Not Kill".
The notes themselves although dated January 1st 1943, didn't enter circulation until May 1943. On the obverse of the note, the printed signature of "der Alteste der Juden" (Jewish Elder), Jakob Edelstein is shown. Edelstein, and later, Dr.Paul Eppstein, were very significant men in the Theresienstadt organisation. The denomonations of the notes ranged from 1Krone through to 100Kronen, and the sizes adjusted accordingly, from 100x50mm (1K) to 150x77mm (100K). The higher denomination notes were even watermarked, as shown below.
Amongst camp and ghetto money from the Third Reich period, the Theresienstadt notes are the most detailed. Some believed that they were designed as part of the disguise to mislead the Red Cross visitors, but camp survivors corrected this misinformation many years ago.
Due to the size of the ghetto, the demand for the notes was high and roughly 5 million were eventually produced, nearly half of which were the 1Krone note. The rarer notes being the watermarked 20, 50 and 100 denominations.