Juno Moneta's Blog

09 May 2015

Litzmannstadt...A Chapter in German Monetary History (Book Review)

Library | Juno Moneta

In your never ending quest to seek out and learn about REALLY interesting world coins you may happen upon the tragic series of coins from the Lotz Ghetto of Litzmannstadt. Following the invasion of Poland (1939) by the forces of the 3rd Reich of Germany, the Nazis set up an illusion of a "self administered" Jewish enclave in an occupied Polish town. They did this by walling in a section of town in Litzmannstadt, which already had a robust Jewish population. They forced the poor inhabitants into forced labor while they slowly starved the elderly and the leaders. Those were the good times, because beginning in 1942 they started moving some of the Jews to the extermination camps.

Among their labors for the Nazis the Jews were forced to make coinage which the Nazis used to help control black marketing in the Ghetto. The alloyed coins were forced traded for the good metal coins used in Germany and Poland at the time upon their induction into the Ghetto. However, BEWARE! the coins were so in demand to collectors following the war that many fakes were made. This is a clear case of buying the book before the coin, although the fakes are also knowingly collected.
The book is a fascinating history of the Ghetto, and all aspects of it's mini-economy. It very thoroughly covers the coins, their metallurgy and metrology, as well that of the fakes. It also includes lots of information concerning paper money and ration cards and a host of other subjects. The book is hardcover medium size format of 87 pages. It's highly illustrated with charts and detailed photos of the fakes and the authentic coins as well as everything else. The authors are:Guy M. Y. Ph. Franquinet, Peter Hammer, Hartmut Schoenawa and Lothar Schoenawa.
Photos: 1) color book cover
2) an authentic 5 Mark Ghetto coin in Elektron [alloy of aluminum and magnesium]. This denomination and metal are as not prone to counterfeiting as are the 10 & 20 Mark pieces in aluminum.
OB: "DER AELESTEST DER JUDEN IN LITZMANNSTADT" [Chief Jewish Elder in Litzmannstadt]. Center & Ribbon states "QUITTUNG UBER 5 MARK" [Receipt for 5 Mark].
3)This is a typical FAKE created in Poland or E. Europe during the 1960's. As the authentic issues became more completely described the counterfeiters (for collectors) became increasingly good at imitation. This is a later issue that is a good forgery. This one is distinguished by a prominent die crack on front of the "U" of 'Uber' on the banner across the 10 on the obverse (not visible in this photo). Other copies were cast. Usually, authentic coins are in rather poor condition in aluminum and even worse in 'elektron' (magnesium). So, excellent examples like this should be immediately suspect!

JM -www.Moneta-Coins.com see:http://www.moneta-coins.com/photopost/showgallery.php?cat=578 for a direct link to Polish coins and more information.



Level 5

I have one of these sitting in a box somewhere XD


Level 7

I am sorry I could not read this book. The war had a very bad impression on me. I do like the German coinage but that's as far as I will go. Thanks for taking the time.


Level 5

Interesting story. Thanks for the history!

Ian Fenn

Level 5

Thanks so many books so little time to read!!!!

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