THERESIENSTADT

The Theresienstadt ghetto-camp, located approximately midway between Prague and Dresden, was established in late 1941, remaining functional until the end of the war. Around 140,000 Jews were deported to Theresienstadt, 33,000 of whom died at the site. It is also estimated that around 90,000 people from Theresienstadt were deported further east to almost certain death.

Gate Theresienstadt

Although dated January 1st 1943, the notes didn't enter circulation until May that year. On the obverse of the note, the printed signature of "der Alteste der Juden" (Jewish Elder), Jakob Edelstein is shown. The denominations 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.

The notes were designed by Petr Kien, a poet and artist from Czechoslavakia who was instructed by the SS, possibly even by SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, the Reichsprotektor, to alter the image of Moses holding the tablet bearing the ten commandments inscription. Kien was informed that the image of Moses was "too Aryan" in appearance, so he added the curly hair, larger ears and long hooked nose so the image would resemble the classic Nazi caricature of the Jew. Kien later died of disease shortly after being transferred from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz late in 1944, along with his wife and parents, who also perished. Produced at the National Bank in Prague, the engraving was done by Jindra Schmidt - sketches of the earlier and final depiction of the Moses like character are shown below.

Theresienstadt
Image from "The International Engraver's Line" by Gene Hessler.

Probably the most finely detailed note of any ghetto or concentration camp example produced, the detail is nothing short of superb, especially when viewed in hand.

Theresienstadt Tokens
Theresienstadt Tokens