Theresienstadt Ghetto currency donated to National Library of Israel
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Theresienstadt Ghetto currency donated to National Library of Israel

Six bills feature a Star of David and a sketch of Moses holding the Ten Commandments; Jews were forced to exchange regular money upon entering camps or ghettos during Holocaust

A 100 Kronen note, the currency of the Theresienstadt Ghetto. (Courtesy of the National Library of Israel via JTA)
A 100 Kronen note, the currency of the Theresienstadt Ghetto. (Courtesy of the National Library of Israel via JTA)

Currency used in the Theresienstadt Ghetto was donated to the National Library of Israel.

The six bills featuring a Star of David and a sketch of Moses holding the Ten Commandments were received by the National Library days before Israel’s Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. They are worth a total of 263 Kronen, the currency of the ghetto, which was located in northwestern Czechoslovakia.

All ghetto residents were forced to convert their money and some property into the currency of the camp or ghetto in which they were imprisoned. If someone managed to escape, that person then had no way to purchase food or clothes.

The bills were donated by Ruth Brass of Britain, in honor of her father, the late Lionel Schalit, a prominent Zionist and community activist, and a leader in the European Maccabi Movement.

“It seems that the bank, the bills and the ‘wages’ received by many prisoners during imprisonment in the ghetto had an additional role: they gave the impression of ‘normalcy;’ of an orderly and routine everyday life that the Nazis indeed tried to present to the official representatives of the Red Cross who visited the Terezin Ghetto. The bills present documentation of the chilling reality in the days of the Holocaust: imaginary symbols of a ‘normalcy’ that never existed, under the shadow of persecution and eradication,” according to National Library of Israel expert Dr. Stefan Litt.

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