University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies



Nazi Numismatics Items - Set 3

(click image to enlarge)

Lagergeld from Transit Camp at Westerbork, Eastern Netherlands

lagergeld 10 cent
lagergeld 10 cent
lagergeld 25 cent
lagergeld 25 cent
lagergeld 50 cent
lagergeld 50 cent
lagergeld 100 cent
lagergeld 100 cent

Austrian Banknotes

Anti-Semitic overprint on Austrian Banknotes. 1 & 2 Kronen notes from 1922. (Pick 73 & 74) "Da Gold, da hat die Judenbank. Der Dreck, der blieb in deiner Hand!". Accusing the Jews of owning the hard gold, leaving the worthless inflation paper in the hands of others.

austrian banknote austrian banknote austrian banknote

Litzmannstadt Coin

ghetto coinageThe city of Lodz was renamed Litzmannstadt on April 11, 1940 in honor of World War I German general. For the Jews, the Litzmannstadt (Lodz) ghetto became the second largest after Warsaw. Daily life in the ghetto was captured on film by German director Fritz Hippler  for the production of "Der Ewige Jude," ("The Eternal Jew," 1940)  sometimes dubbed the "most anti-Semitic film ever made." As Jews were not allowed to use German currency, Jewish money was issued on May 15,1940, as indicated on the front of the currency. Unlike Theriesenstadt, which depicted the Prophet Moses holding the Ten Commandments with the 6th Commandment ("Thou Shalt Not Commit Murder") obscured, Litzmannstadt money used only symbols. (see: Litzmannstadt Script)

Litzmannstadt (Lodz Ghetto) 10 Mark Coin, 1943.
Only Litzmannstadt issued coins, a soft-mixed alloy in several denominations. One side of the 10 Mark coin shown depicts a Star of David with the word "Ghetto" imposed over it and the year, 1943. The image appears to be surrounded by a tight knit form of barbed wire. The other side says "Quittung 10 Marks," (receipt or official currency for 10 Marks), while the circular wording around the outside reads: "The Elder of the Jews in Litzmannstadt."

ghetto coinageThis side was also set against a field of woven stars of David, which metaphorically has the appearance of a barbed-wire fence. Litzmannstadt was the only ghetto to issue coins, which have a Star of David on one side with the denomination, while the reverse repeated the issuing authority in a circular fashion around the coin: "Der Alteste der Juden in Litzmannstadt." The coins, made of aluminum or a magnesium-aluminum alloy, were minted in denominations of 10 Pfennig, 5, 10, and 20 Mark coins. Primo Levi makes mention of one of these coins in his chapter on "The Gray Zone" in "The Drowned and the Saved." Levi describes the irony, and astonishment, of finding a Lodz Ghetto coin after liberation:

"On my return from Auschwitz I found in my pocket a curious coin of light allow, which I have saved to this day. Scratched and corroded, one side of it has the Hebrew Star (the "shield of David"), the date 1943, and the word getto; on the other side is the inscription QUITTUNG UBER 10 MARK and DER ALTEST DER JUDEN IN LITZMANNSTADT, that is, respectively, Receipt for ten marks and The Elder of the Jews in Litzmannstadt. In short, it was a coin for internal ghetto use. For many years, I forgot about its existence, and then, around 1974, I was able to reconstruct its story, which is fascinating and sinister. "

In Levi's writing, the coin itself is the stimulus for memory, which it must be, as one ponders not only the special duties of the Jewish council in the ghetto, but also what the coinage and printed currency meant as a special manifestation of both design and segregation.

Judaica: Litzmannstadt (Lodz Ghetto) Script

litzmannstadt script

Judaica: Litzmannstadt (Lodz Ghetto) Script: The SS introduced special "Jewish currency" in many of the Ghettos. The most well-known cases are from Theresienstadt (Terezin) and Litzmannstadt (Lodz) ghettos/concentraion camps. The concept was behind this was total segregation, so that Jews and Aryans would not touch the same currency. Notes and coins were issued in the Litzmannstadt Ghetto, signed on the back by "M. Rumkowski," Alteste der Juden (Elder of the Jews).The 10 Mark note shows a wall of barbed wire in essence made from a Star of david design. A large green six-pointed star appears in the upper left. The reverse side, shown on the 5 Mark bill, has the same background, only with a six-pointed star in the upper right and menorah on the lower left.

Lodz, a large industrial city, housed one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe before World War II. It was second in size only to Warsaw. Lodz was occupied by September 7, 1939  and persecution of the Jews was underway by September 14. In November of the same year Lodz was incorporated into the Third Reich (as part of Western Poland annexed as the Wartagau) and the name was changed to Litzmannstadt. This accounts for the currency being issued in "Marks" as opposed to Polish "Zloty."After November  16, Jews were forced by German occupation law to wear a band around their  arm, replaced by a Yellow Star of David symbol on December 12. The Lodz Ghetto was established on February 8, 1940