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'Ghetto currency' donated to Israel's National Library

Theresienstadt's old mill

Theresienstadt's old mill


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

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

Every ghetto resident was forced to convert his money and some property into the camp or ghetto in which he was imprisoned. If someone managed to escape, he had no way to buy food or clothes.

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

"It seems that the bank, the bills and the 'wages' received many prisoners during the imprisonment in the ghetto had an additional role: they gave the impression of 'normalcy;' present to the Red Cross who visited the Terezin Ghetto. The bills present the chilling reality in the days of the Holocaust: imaginary symbols of cy normalcy ’that never existed, under the shadow of persecution and eradication,” according to National Library of Israel expert Stefan Litt.

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