The beginning of the end of German Jewry


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4 March 1933

Gift card from the Berlin Savings Bank marking the birth of Gabriele Samson

This decorative fold-out card was given to Friedrich and Anneliese Samson when their first daughter, Gabriele, was born in Berlin on 4 March 1933. It originally came with a coupon for three reichsmarks that could be used if the parents opened a savings account for their child and deposited at least one reichsmark. The card features a number of Berlin sights, including the Brandenburg Gate, the Gendarmenmarkt, the Berlin Cathedral, the Old Museum and the Red City Hall. Such promotions were designed to encourage people to invest in their savings. It is not known whether Gabriele‘s parents ever used the coupon.

Germany's savings banks (Sparkassen), which had by far the largest number of customers among the country‘s banking institutions, were especially important for the Nazis‘ economic policy because they provided the bulk of the capital needed to rearm the country and later to finance the war. They were also involved from the outset in the large-scale illegal seizure of the Jewish population‘s assets.

Gabriele Samson was considered a "half-Jew" under Nazi racial laws. On the night of the pogrom on 9 November 1938, her Jewish father, Friedrich Samson, was arrested and taken to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. During his internment, the Nazis confiscated his mannequin company.

In June 1939, after he was released, the family immigrated to Sweden, taking this gift card with them. Its motifs reminded them of their native city.

Lea Weik

Categorie(s): Berlin | captivity | childhood
Gift card from the Berlin Savings Bank marking the birth of Gabriele Samson (front), Berlin, after 4 March 1933
Gift of Gabriella Ekberg