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THE VOICE OF INTERNATIONAL LITHUANIA

11 December 2017
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Dear readers,

 

We are delighted and honored that Mr. Frank Passic has graciously offered to share with us his vast knowledge of Lithuanian numismatics. In this first article he provides us with a very interesting look into how Lithuanians living in Displaced Persons camps, following World War II, dealt with the situation of currency to help them survive in their daily lives.

 

Frank Passic of Albion, Michigan has collected, researched, and written about Lithuanian numismatics for many years. His educational displays of Lithuanian money have won numerous awards at state and national coin shows in the United States. Of Lithuanian heritage, his maternal grandparents emigrated from Lithuania to America just prior to World War I. Frank may be contacted at: albionfp@hotmail.com

We know you will enjoy this first article and Mr. Passic has agreed to share with us many more of his writings so we definitely have a lot to look forward to – Ačiū labai Frank

Also have a look at: http://www.albionmich.com/

 

Su pagarbe – Vincas Karnila
Associate Editor
Historical Lithuania editor

 

 

Lithuanian camps in postwar Germany issued their own money! 

Description: C:\Users\Aage\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\XLMWM123\Frank Passic.jpg
Frank Passic.


By Frank Passic, Albion, Michigan.
albionfp@hotmail.com

In May 1945 Europe was in shambles. With the fall of the Nazis, Germany was sliced into Allied zones, and the process of rebuilding Europe began. War and its aftermath had uprooted thousands of people from their homes and countries, and many found themselves liberated from Nazi concentration camps with no place to go.

The care of refugees in Europe was handled by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) until 1947, when responsibility was transferred to the International Refugee Organization (IRO), which also was a function of the United Nations. These refugees became known as displaced persons (DPs), and the Allied powers soon realized they had a delicate problem to solve.

Description: http://www.albionmich.com/history/histor_notebook/images_S/three.jpg
A camp publication features this photograph of "Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia..
.waiting for the dawn of their independence."


By the end of the War, roughly 70,000 Lithuanians had made their way into Germany and Austria. At first, the Allied powers thought these people took up residence in western Germany against their will and that they naturally would prefer to return to their homeland, but such was not the case. Lithuanians who had made it to the West did not want to relocate back to their Soviet-occupied homeland.

The Allies, including the United States, initially accused Lithuanian DPs of being former Nazi sympathizers. They later realized that the actual reason for their reluctance to return to their country was based on the fact that having witnessed the Soviet atrocities in Lithuania in 1940-41, they certainly would be executed or deported to Siberia if they set foot on their native soil. Still, to the horror of many, some were forcibly sent back by the Allies, never to be heard from again.

Description: http://www.albionmich.com/history/histor_notebook/images_S/bigheat.jpg
A satirical drawing shows Lithuanians feeing Stalin's rays. The caption translates,
"In our land there is still Big Heat."


Accordingly, suspicion and distrust ran high in DP camps housing Lithuanian refugees. A large percentage of the inhabitants were professionals – physicians, engineers, jurists, teachers, public officials, artists and clerks – and would have been targeted instantly by the Soviet occupational regime if they returned home.

Gradually, western nations accepted the reality of the situation and opened their doors to large numbers of immigrants from DP camps. Many DPs made their way to new lives in the United States, Canada, Australia, Great Britain, and Argentina in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Many DP camps issued their own internal currency, which was used to pay workers and others within their confines. Generally, the money was spent at the canteen or “P.X.” for needed supplies. A virgin field for collectors and researchers alike, DP camp money has caught the attention of numismatists in recent years. Examples would sometimes appear in estates as former camp members became deceased.

Description: http://www.albionmich.com/history/histor_notebook/images_S/bigcake.jpg
A Lithuanian cartoon depicts DPs "acting on Uncle Truman's cake."


With few exceptions, DP camp money research is scattered, and numismatic information is often incomplete. However, one must bear in mind that each camp’s money was redeemed and destroyed, and residents had little cause to save it.

Description: http://www.albionmich.com/history/histor_notebook/images_S/castle.jpg
Pictured is Schwarzberg Castle, a 17th century structure that served as the site of a
Lithuanian DP camp in Scheinfeld, a small town in Bavaria. 


Description: http://www.albionmich.com/history/histor_notebook/images_S/employees.jpg
UNRRA Food Stores employees at the Lithuanian DP camp in Seedorf.

 

Description: http://www.albionmich.com/history/histor_notebook/images_S/administrators.jpg
Camp administrators draw rations from the canteen.


There were several Lithuanian Displaced Persons camps which issued camp money, such as: Scheinfeld, Regensburg,  Bad Worishofen, Ludwig, and Nordlingen, which will be discussed here.

SCHEINFELD

Atop a sandy slope on the outskirts of Scheinfeld, a small town in Bavaria halfway between Nuremberg and Wurzburg, sits a 17th century castle built by the Schwarzenberg family. It was in the imposing structure that a Lithuanian DP encampment was established on April 28, 1946, to house 1500 Lithuanians transferred from the DP camp in Regensburg. The camp was headed by an American reserve officer of Lithuanian descent, Stanley B. Milnus, whose parents had come from the Vilnius region of Lithuania. Chairman of the camp’s committee was Professor Ceslovas Masaitis, a Lithuanian mathematician.

Administered and occupied entirely by Lithuanians, the Scheinfeld camp was liquidated in 1949 after its administrator, Steponas Birutis, left for America. Committee chairman Masaitis later instituted a Lithuanian fraternal order in the United States that carried the “Scheinfeld” name. 1

The DP issues of Scheinfeld, Team 569, are perhaps the most familiar of the Lithuanian camp money. Originally unknown in numismatic circles, the money suddenly appeared on the market in the early 1970s, when a small hoard surfaced in England. Because the specimens were in nearly Uncirculated condition, many doubted if the money was actually put to use. Furthermore, interviews with former DPs reveal that German and military monies circulated within the camp, and no one remembered ever seeing camp money.

However, UNRRA records for the Scheinfeld camp have shed some light on the mysteries surrounding the currency used in camp. In a report dated June 15, 1946, UNRRA Team 569 Director Anton A. Pritchard stated:

In the month since the camp has been opened, the following welfare projects have been organized:

1) A camp newspaper is published daily with an English translation for the director;
2) An amenity Canteen is functioning with great success;
3) We have established an internal money system by which workers are paid and which works in conjunction with the Canteen…

Under the present Canteen System of paying workers and the anticipated cessation of American cigarettes from Red Cross parcels, present supplies of amenity items will not meet the demand, and an internal economic crisis can be foreseen. Particularly items needed are shaving soap, cigarettes, razor blades, brilliantine, hair and bobby pins, combs.

The following suggestions are respectively submitted, with the full realization of their lack of originality:

1) That amenity supplies (Canteen) be increased so that economic stability can be maintained and so that payment for working can be kept sufficiently attractive;
2) That a source of cigarettes can be found.  2

Another report, dated July 15, 1946, reiterates the creation of an internal camp money system and the scarcity of amenities. 3

Therefore it appears that Scheinfeld Lithuanian camp money was used in the canteen from May through July 1946. However, because of acute shortages of goods, opportunities to actually spend the money were greatly diminished, and the monetary system subsequently was abandoned.

It is surmised that all Scheinfeld notes were destroyed, with one authority keeping an estimated fifteen sets as souvenirs, thus accounting for the  hoard which surfaced  in England.

Description: http://www.albionmich.com/history/histor_notebook/images_S/Scheinfeld10centu.jpg
10 cents 


Description: http://www.albionmich.com/history/histor_notebook/images_S/Scheinfeld50centu.jpg
50 cents 


Description: http://www.albionmich.com/history/histor_notebook/images_S/Scheinfeld$1.jpg
One dollar


Scheinfeld camp money is bilingual – Lithuanian on the obverse, English on the reverse. All notes feature a red serial number on the face, while a blue, hand-stamped “Scheinfeld UNRRA (Team 569)” emblem resembling a globe appears on the back. Issued in denominations of 10 and 50 centu and 1 doleris, the notes bear the inscription UNRRA TEAM 569, SCHEINFELD / (denomination) / CAMP MONEY in Lithuanian and English.

DENOMINATION

COLOR

SIZE

10 centu

Light green

104 x 51mm

50 centu

Dark green

118 x 63mm

1 doleris

Tan

155 x 70mm

 REGENSBURG

Until the establishment of the Scheinfeld camp in April 1946, its 1500 residents were interred at the DP camp in Regensburg. Apparently, Scheinfeld camp money was patterned after the money circulated at Regensburg, for a 1-dollar note in a private collection is identical to the Scheinfeld 1 doleris, except that the text on both sides is in English.

DENOMINATION

COLOR

SIZE

1 dollar

Tan

155 x 70mm

BAD WORISHOFEN

The Lithuanian encampment in Bad Worishofen was located 65 kilometers west of Munich. A product of Team 558, notes circulating in this DP camp were issued in denominations of 1, 5 and 20 units and shared the same dimensions. The English inscription reads D.P. CENTER BAD WORISHOFEN / UNRRA (denomination) UNITS / UNRRA / TEAM 558. A six-digit serial number printed in red appears at the bottom center, and a leafy design surrounds the perimeter. In the lower left corner, outside the border appears in German, DRUCK: HANS HOLZMANN, BAD WORISHOFEN, VII. 46. 15000, which translates “Printed by Hans Holzmann, Bad Worishofen, July 1946, 15000 printed.”

DENOMINATION

COLOR

SIZE

1 unit

Light Yellow

110 x 76mm

5 units

Peat

110 x 76mm

20 units

Green

110 x 76mm



 Description: http://www.albionmich.com/history/histor_notebook/images_S/5units.jpg
Five units


LUDWIG

The Lithuanian encampment in Ludwig was part of the Dillingen UNRRA district, Team 308. Money used in this camp consisted of two issues; the first was printed on white paper, the second on light-violet paper. Initially, the notes were used to pay day laborers, but eventually all the camp’s inhabitants received payment in this form, with men receiving white notes and women receiving violet notes!

Issued in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 50 units, the Ludwig camp money was designed by Lithuanian artist Antanas Rukstele (1906-1990), a well-known as a painter and ethnographer. Rukstele had served as curator of the Ciurlionis Art Gallery and the ethnographic section of the Museum of Culture in Kaunas, Lithuania. As a painter he was responsible for a great many landscapes, portraits, thematic compositions and book illustrations.

Description: http://www.albionmich.com/history/histor_notebook/images_S/000722.jpg


Rukstele  lived in the Ludwig DP camp until 1949 and emigrated to the United States in 1955. Apparently, UNRRA officials were so pleased with Rukstele’s artwork that they used his same basic design for the Polish DP money issued in the Luitpold camp, also in the Dillingen district.

UNRRA records confirm the use of camp money in the Dillingen district. In May 1946 Team 308 Field Supervisor G.C. Brooke wrote:

The Welfare Department has prepared a new currency system based on rationing amenities supplies. Every resident is given a prescribed number of points, and further points are added for workers according to the tasks involved. Additional points are given to sick and old people, students and nursing mothers. 4

In a later report, Brooke stated:

The team has now a Point system operating for P.X. and amenity supplies. The object of the scheme is to allow a fair distribution of supplies to all camp dwellers, with special facilities offered to the various working groups. The Principal Welfare Officer reports that it has been a stimulant to the D.P.’s to seek engagement in some form of camp activity. 5

The design on the Ludwig notes consists of a Lithuanian tulip motif, which together with the UNRRA emblem, is printed in green. The text and unit numerals are overprinted in red. All the notes employed the same design, allowing for their “generic” use, and the face of each reads LITHUANIAN D.P. CENTER LUDWIG DILLINGEN / UNRRA UNITS / TEAM 308. A serial number is printed in red at the bottom center, slightly to the right. The initials of the artist, “AR,” appear on the bottom border to the left of center. Two different colors of paper were used. Notes printed on white paper were for the men, and notes with  the violet paper were for women.

The back, printed in Lithuanian, translates “The falsification and counterfeiting of Camp Marks is a punishable offense.” Although the denominations are in units, the penalty clause reveals that the money was connected with Germany’s mark monetary system.

DENOMINATION

COLOR

SIZE

First issue

 

 

1 unit

White

85 x 55mm

2 units

White

85 x 55mm

5 units

White

85 x 55mm

10 units

White

112 x 68mm

50 units

White

112 x 68mm

Second issue

 

 

1 unit

Violet

85 x 55mm

2 units

Violet

85 x 55mm

5 units

Violet

85 x 55mm

10 units

Violet

112 x 68mm

50 units

Violet

112 x 68mm

NORDLINGEN

Fifty-five kilometers from Dillingen, the Nordlingen camp housed 500 Latvians and Lithuanians. In describing the camp money of the Dillingen district, Field Supervisor Brooke reported:

The camp P.X., working on a “point” system, is gradually becoming firmly established, and the system has been extended to the Nordlingen Camp. The D.P.’s are almost enthusiastic regarding this type of payment, and it has certainly increased the desire to work. 6

To date, no money of the Nordlingen camp has surfaced, although it would be logical to assume that it featured the same design as that of the Ludwig camp money. According to records, the Nordlingen issues began to circulate sometime in June 1946.

Description: http://www.albionmich.com/history/histor_notebook/images_S/sPolishLuitpoldDillingenDPmoneyobv.jpgDescription: http://www.albionmich.com/history/histor_notebook/images_S/PolishLuitpoldDillingenDPmoneyrev.jpg 
   Luitpold Polish note Face side                                                       Back side
                         

 

       
FOOTNOTES

1. A concise history of the Scheinfeld camp and its money appears in the IBNS Journal, 18, No. 4 (1980).

 2. UNRRA Monthly Team Report, United Nations, Scheinfeld Team 569, June 15, 1946, p. 6.


3. UNRRA Monthly Team Report, United Nations, Scheinfeld 569, July 15, 1946, p. 6


4. Letter to S. Zisman from G. C. Brooke, Field Supervisor Team 308 Dillingen. United Nations, UNRRA District No. 5, Munich, May 16, 1946, p. 2.


5. Letter to S. B. Zisman, District Director, from G. C. Brooke, Field Supervisor Team 308 Dillingen. United Nations, UNRRA District No. 5, Munich, June 17, 1946, p. 2.

6. Letter to S. B. Zisman, District Director, from G. C. Brooke, Field Supervisor Team 308 Dillingen. United Nations, UNRRA District No. 5, Munich, July 16, 1946, p. 3.

 

Bibliography

Dypukas, No. 1. Kempten, Germany: August 1946.

Encyclopedia Lituanica. 1975 ed., Vol. IV, s.v. “Refugees,” by Simas Suziedelis.

Kreivenas, Juozas. “UNRRA  D. P. Camp Money.” The Knight, 3 (April-May 1981), p. 1, 2.

Lietuviu Enciklopedia. 1962 ed., Vol. XXVII, s.v. “Scheinfeld,” by A. Bendorius.

Narkeliunaite, S. ed. DP Baltic Camp at Seedorf, 1946-1947. UNRRA Team 295 B.A.O.R.

Pasilaitis, Juozas. Hearken Then Judge, Sidelights on Lithuanian DPs. Patria: Tubengen-Stuggart, 1947

Passic, Frank. “The Lithuanian DP Camp Money of Scheinfeld.” IBNS Journal, 18 (1980), pp. 119-121.

Passic, Frank and Feller, Steven A. “Displaced Persons Camp Money.”  The Numismatist, August 1984  pp. 1602-1617.

________. “UN Records Confirm Scheinfeld Camp Money Use!” The Knight, 6, No. 2, p. 1, 2.

Pick, Albert and Carl Siemsen. Das Lagergeld der Konzentrtations – und D. P. Lager, 1933-1945. Munchen: Baltenberg Verlag, 1976.

Slabaugh, Arlie. Prisoner of War Monies and Medals. Chicago: Hewitt Brothers, 1966.

United Nations. UNRRA District No. 5 Munich. Letter to S.B. Zisman from G.C. Brooke, Field Supervisor Team 308 Dillingen, May 16, 1946

________. UNRRA District No. 5 Munich. Letter to S.B. Zisman from G.C. Brooke, Field Supervisor Team 308 Dillingen, June 17, 1946

________. UNRRA District No. 5 Munich. Letter to S.B. Zisman from G.C. Brooke, Field Supervisor Team 308 Dillingen, July 16, 1946

________. UNRRA Monthly Team Report. June 15, 1946, Team 596, Scheinfeld. UNRRA File 3.0.11.3.2, Box 54

________. UNRRA Monthly Team Report. July 15, 1946, Team 596, Scheinfeld. UNRRA File 3.0.11.3.2, Box 54

Special thanks to the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture in Chicago for DP Camp reference material.

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