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Heydrich and the Theresienstadt banknotes

Article about: 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 Ban

  1. #11

    Default Re: Heydrich and the theresienstadt banknotes

    Quote by CARL View Post
    A fine example of the least common denomination of the Theresienstadt banknotes, i.e. the 50 Kronen note. The higher denominations (20's, 50's and 100's), were all watermarked, as well as displaying the same fine detail of the lower denominations of Theresienstadt note. This piece is one of the finest concentration camp / ghetto currency examples around, displaying quite wonderful detail.

    Regards,

    Carl
    Very interesting thread, Carl

    I wonder what was the purpose behind going to all of the elaborate design detail and the effort involved in the complicated addition and expense of watermarking the banknote paper during paper manufacture. See watermarking bank notes. This is even before the printing of the specially made & watermarked paper and could have involved many colour plates in the printing rather than just the standard 4 CMYK colour plates.

    What would the ramifications have been to the "economy" of the Theresienstadt ghetto even if more simply designed and produced banknotes were "forged" and circulated within this very closed economic system?

    Did the Theresienstadt ghetto banknotes have any value outside of the closed ghetto system that would make it necessary to prevent forgery undermining the external economy as well as the ghetto economy?

    Maybe the whole exercise was just an elaborate busywork scheme?
    Last edited by CARL; 10-14-2017 at 10:32 AM.
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  2. #12
    ?

    Default Re: Heydrich and the theresienstadt banknotes

    Quote by 4thskorpion View Post

    I wonder what was the purpose behind going to all of the elaborate design detail and the effort involved in the complicated addition and expense of watermarking the banknote paper during paper manufacture.

    What would the ramifications have been to the "economy" of the Theresienstadt ghetto even if more simply designed and produced banknotes were "forged" and circulated within this very closed economic system?

    Did the Theresienstadt ghetto banknotes have any value outside of the closed ghetto system that would make it necessary to prevent forgery undermining the external economy as well as the ghetto economy?
    Thank you for your kind words.

    Due to the shortage of accurate information regarding KL currency, I recently started a thread, that shall be updated as and when time permits. It is located within the forum, under the title Concentration Camp Currency. One of the first points that I chose to address, was indeed the reasoning behind the elaborate designs of such pieces. Basically, a stark difference exists between the ghetto and transit camp notes, such as the examples that were circulated at Westerbork, Litzmannstadt and Theresienstadt, and the far more primitive tokens that were used at the concentration camps and killing factories, like KL-Auschwitz, KL-Mauthausen etc. Ghetto and transit camp inmates patently lived in a more relaxed environment than prisoners at the extermination centres, and the SS wanted to aid this by creating a currency that resembled real money, so that the prisoners were calmed by thoughts of the outside world. It worked too, as survivors have testified with regards to how they felt when they handled the banknotes. It made them feel somewhat connected to the world, even if it was in just some small, almost insignificant way. Meanwhile, at KLs such as Mauthausen or Flossenburg, where the very crude, primitive designed token shown below would have been circulated, the prisoners had no connection to the real world, and the SS wanted this air of resignation to afflict the prisoners, hence the almost pathetic coupons we see.

    The question of other currencies being used at Litzmannstadt for example, has been looked at by others. Some pieces, likely modern fantasy items claimed to be of genuine origin, do pop up from time to time. Rare authentic pieces possibly do exist, although information regarding these would be almost impossible to find. The banknotes that were circulated obviously helped to control the economy within such locales, and the lack of "alternative" examples of notes or tokens does seem to lead us to believe that even if they did exist, then it was in very small quantities.

    Outside of the ghetto or camp where a note or token was issued, they had absolutely no value. Many pieces were even marked in such a manner as to state this to the bearer.

    Regards,

    Carl
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture SDC12917.JPG   SDC12921.JPG  

    Last edited by CARL; 10-14-2017 at 10:35 AM.
    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

    www.concentrationcamptours.com

    www.concentrationcampmoney.com


    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wypeya oki hi sni"

  3. #13

    Default Re: Heydrich and the theresienstadt banknotes

    Quote by CARL View Post
    the SS wanted to aid this by creating a currency that resembled real money, so that the prisoners were calmed by thoughts of the outside world. It worked too, as survivors have testified with regards to how they felt when they handled the banknotes. It made them feel somewhat connected to the world, even if it was in just some small, almost insignificant way.
    I understand perfectly the reasoning for producing a ghetto banknote that looked like an everyday note in terms of visual appearance thus adding to the illusion of normality for the Theresienstadt Jews. But I don't quite understand why the notes would need to be watermarked also given the added production cost to make the special paper for the notes—especially as these notes were for Jewish use? Or did the Theresienstadt Juderat have to pay the Germans for the production of the currency? Or was the cost of production recouped through the exchange rate offered to the Jews for the Theresienstadt currency?

    An interesting subject that I had not given much thought to... before your thread
    Last edited by CARL; 10-14-2017 at 10:37 AM.
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  4. #14

    Default Re: Heydrich and the theresienstadt banknotes

    Little by little Carl,, the pieces of a huge puzzle are coming together,,,but will be many generations to complete it. Great thread Carl.
    It is not the size of a Collection in History that matters......Its the size of your Passion for it!! - Larry C

    One never knows what tree roots push to the surface of what laid buried before the tree was planted - Larry C

    The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see. - Winston Churchill

  5. #15
    ?

    Default Re: Heydrich and the theresienstadt banknotes

    It should also be noted that the higher denomination Theresienstadt notes (the 20, 50 and 100Kronen pcs) were not the only watermarked examples within the KL system. Westerbork notes were also watermarked. At Litzmannstadt, the Zwei Mark note was actually counterfeited within the ghetto, with over 5,000 copies produced. I shall go into more detail when I address the Litzmannstadt currency in the thread that I mentioned earlier. Regarding the Theresienstadt banknotes, they were the first government authorised notes specifically for Jews. The lavish design added to the illusion of a comfortable life within the ghetto, so the extra expense may well have been considered worthwhile. The higher denominations, named above, are the only examples that bear the watermark. These account for only several percent of the total notes produced, which ran into the millions, so the costs were limited to an extent.

    Regards,

    Carl

    p.s. Thank you Larry
    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

    www.concentrationcamptours.com

    www.concentrationcampmoney.com


    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wypeya oki hi sni"

  6. #16

    Default Re: Heydrich and the theresienstadt banknotes

    Quote by CARL View Post
    It should also be noted that the higher denomination Theresienstadt notes (the 20, 50 and 100Kronen pcs) were not the only watermarked examples within the KL system. Westerbork notes were also watermarked.
    Thanks Carl,

    I have bookmarked your Concentration Camp Currency thread and will look forward to seeing new posts over time
    Last edited by CARL; 10-14-2017 at 10:38 AM.
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  7. #17
    ?

    Default Re: Heydrich and the theresienstadt banknotes

    The total print runs for the Theresienstadt banknotes...

    1K - 2,242,000
    2K - 1,019,000
    5K - 530,000
    10K - 456,000
    20K - 319,000
    50K - 159,000
    100K - 279,000

    So, of the 5,004,000 pieces produced, 757,000 were watermarked (about 15%).

    Should anybody ever need them, I also have the series letters that were used, just contact me for this information.

    From all the KL/ghetto related scrip, Theresienstadt examples are comfortably the most common. Compare these numbers to the Natzweiler Pramienschein, of which only one surviving piece is known today...

    Regards,

    Carl
    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

    www.concentrationcamptours.com

    www.concentrationcampmoney.com


    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wypeya oki hi sni"

  8. #18
    ?

    Default Re: Heydrich and the Theresienstadt banknotes

    A few images of a complete set of Theresienstadt notes, from 1Krone through to the watermarked 20, 50 and 100Kronen examples.

    Regards,

    Carl
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture SDC16926.jpg   SDC16928.jpg  

    SDC16931.jpg  
    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

    www.concentrationcamptours.com

    www.concentrationcampmoney.com


    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wypeya oki hi sni"

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