Accession Number: NEKHC:2009.64

Object: Envelope

Category: Theresienstadt (Terezin); The Nazi Camp System

Physical Description: Paper and ink. Minor tear.

Image Use: Use of images owned by the National Holocaust Centre and Museum is governed by our Terms and Conditions.


This envelope is from Theresienstadt Ghetto. The envelope states that it is from the 'Bank of the Jewish (self) Government'.

Further Information

Theresienstadt was operational between November 24, 1941 and May 8, 1945, when it was entered by Soviet troops. It was simultaneously a ghetto, a transit camp, and a concentration camp. On arrival deportees had to exchange all their money and assets into the ghetto 'currency' despite the fact that normal trade and business were impossible. The notes came in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Kronen (the Czechoslovakian currency being the krone) and all had the same design, differing only in size and colour. The front of each note has a picture of Moses on it, he is holding the Ten Commandments which are written in Hebrew. The notes also carry the signature of Jakob Edelstein the first Chief of the Council of Jewish Elders which the SS insisted be set up in Theresienstadt camp-ghetto. The notes had no monetary value but within the ghetto could be used to pay in the communal showers, and for entry to performances put on by other prisoners. The currency and false image of normality it helped to portray played a part in convincing members of the Red Cross who visited in June 1944, that prisoners at Theresienstadt were receiving acceptable treatment, despite the horrific reality.
During its operation approximately 140,000 Jewish people were transported to Theresienstadt, approximately 33,000 were murdered by the conditions including starvation, disease, brutal treatment, or executed in Theresienstadt itself while approximately 90,000 people were deported further East.         

Sources:

Feinstein, Stephen (2005) ‘Art and Imagery of the Ghetto – During and After the Holocaust’, in Sterling, Eric (ed) Life in the Ghettos During the Holocaust New York: Syracuse University Press, pp. 191-219.

Shlain, Margalit ‘The Bank of the Jewish Self-administration’, Beit Theresienstadt: Theresienstadt Martyrs Remembrance Association [Online]. http://www.bterezin.org.il/120869/The-Bank-of-the-Jewish-Self-administration (Accessed 17 January 2015).

Tsweb (2009) ‘Theresienstadt: notes as a disguise of sheer misery’ (3 June 2009), Museum of the National Bank of Belgium [Online]. Available at: http://www.nbbmuseum.be/2009/06/theresienstadt.htm (Accessed 17 January 2015).

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (20 June 2014) ‘Theresienstadt’ Holocaust Encyclopedia, USHMM [Online]. Available at: http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005424 (Accessed 17 January 2015).

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (20 June 2014) ‘Theresienstadt: Red Cross Visit’ Holocaust Encyclopedia, USHMM [Online]. Available at: http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007463 (Accessed 17 January 2015).

Yad Vashem ‘The Ghettos: Theresienstadt’ Yad Vashem [Online]. Available at: http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/holocaust/about/03/terezin.asp (Accessed 17 January 2015).