'The Ghetto is Fighting'
Banknote of Poland

Recently, a well known expert in the field of Judaic syngraphics provided an enigmatic Polish Emission Bank note of 100 zIoty-Krakow issue, I August 1941 (Pick # 103), overprinted boldly and diagonally on the obverse in the Polish language the cryptic proclamation "GETTO WALCZY" . . . "The Ghetto Fights"

This particular note came out of a very old Polish collection that had been in storage in Israel for many years.

These notes of the Emission Bank of Poland were issued under the authority of the Nazi overlord of Occupied Poland, the notorious Dr. Hans Frank. That portion of Poland not directly annexed to Germany, the Ukraine, or the Baltic States was called the Gouvernement General and comprised the districts of Warsaw, Lublin, Galicia, and Radom. It was in this area that these notes circulated.

When we think of a ghetto uprising in Poland, we naturally think of the heroic Warsaw Ghetto struggle. There were however, other less well publicized but none the less heroic battles in Lublin, Bialyostok, Lvov, Czestochowa, and in many other centers. This note could be from any of the fighting ghettos; but where?

"Continue the Struggle"

Lest there still be some to whom the concept of a ghetto uprising against the Hitlerite hordes be unthinkable, I quote verbatim from one of the still existing documents of the Warsaw Ghetto epic.

TO THE DEFENDERS OF THE WARSAW GHETTO.

TO THE JEWS WHO REMAIN ALIVE!

The population of Warsaw has been conducting an armed struggle against the German invaders for the last three days. This is our struggle too. A year has passed since ive raised the flag of the famous revolt in the Ghettos and labor camps, since we began the battle for our lives and our honor, and we again join the entire Polish nation in the fight for freedom. Hundreds of Jewish youths and members of the Jewish Fighting Organization stand shoulder to shoulder with their Polish comrades at the barricades. We send our greetings to the fighters.

Together with the rest of the Polish nation we are, today, struggling for freedom. All of the members of the Jewish Fighting Organization who have survived and all Jewish youths capable of fighting are hereby called on to continue the struggle. No one should stay behind. Join the ranks of the rebels. Through war we shall achieve victory, and a free sovereign, strong and Just Poland!

The Jewish Fighting Organization
(signed) Antek, Commander
(Yitzhak Cukerman)

So, why were these notes over- printed? As the war moved towards its conclusion, the purchasing power of the zioty declined drastically. This was part of the plan for the economic destruction of Poland. The high valued 100 zioty note, devalued as it was, still had some miniscule value. So, if the Jewish Fighting Organization in one of the ghettos in revolt, wanted to get its message to circulate outside of the ghetto walls, what better way than to overprint it on a circulating medium of paper currency?

It is certain that if the overprinted money ever got into the banking system, it would be confiscated. But still, if one found a piece of paper money with an overprinted message on it, it wouldn't be discarded, if the basic note was still valid. Propaganda overprinting of currency had been done in Germany and Russia during and after World War One. During the terrible German inflationary period there were numerous political, Nazi, Communist, and anti-Semitic messages overprinted on paper money.

The Polish underground forces during the Warsaw uprising over- printed many patriotic messages on these same banknotes, translating "Long Live the AngJo-American-Pol- ish Brotherhood in Arms'", "Ger- many Is Losing On All Fronts'," "The First Pay In The September 1944 Uprising?," to name but a few. So, there was a precedent for the political and military overprinting of paper money.

While the Polish underground overprints are listed and recognized in the standard paper money catalogues of Pick, Kowalski, Terlecki, Jablonski, Gupieniec, etc., this one lone exampleópossibly unique, exists from that sad period. Knowledgable syngraphists in Poland, Germany, Israel, and the USA who have made a lifetime study of this type of material, when shown this note, express amazement. Very probably, it came from the Warsaw Ghetto uprising; but, it could also have originated in Lublin, or any of the other fighting Polish ghettos.

Possibly, it could have been a souvenir from a reunion of ghetto fighters. However, an inquiry to the Ghetto Fighters House Museum in Israel disclaims all knowledge of the note. Could it have been a concoction or fantasy made to dupe collectors? Perhaps . . . but it surfaced years ago when this type of material had little value or interest to collectors. The very least that can be said about it is that it was made by a protesting victim.

Today this enigmatic note, with its defiant and poignant message exists to give the lie to the canard that all Jews went to their end like lambs to the slaughter.

If any readers can shed light on this note or other unusual ghetto, concentration camp or displaced persons camp paper money I would be grateful to hear from them.

Dr. Alan York
Number One Main St.
East Hampton, New York 11937



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