Prague 1, Related materials, Warehouses of seized property

Geistgasse 12

Dušní 141/12 (Spanish Synagogue).

Depository 0, 1, 1a. Bulk depository, central sorting point.

Furniture, cases/trunks, knapsacks, briefcases, men’s and childern’s suits, men’s work clothes, ladies’ work coats, dressing gowns, towels, childern’s linen, legwarmers, sheets, sheets by the metre, ladies’ bags, cotton and woolen bedcobers, embroidered bedcovers, leather goods, woven goods and feather duvets, footwear and individuals shoes, flannel, terry-cloth, pots and pans, cleaning cloths, gloves (men’s, ladies’, children’s), leather gloves (men’s, ladies’), white handtowels, terry-cloth handtowels, kitchen towels, shirts (men’s, ladies’, children’s), trousers (men’s, ladies’, children’s), cushion covers,  ladies’ and girls’ clothing, brushes, combs, dungarees, ladies’ suits, ties, men’s and ladies’ nightclothes, underwear, ladies’ coats including winter coats, men’s summer coats, children’s coats, mattresses, white and coloured napkins, drying cloths, children’s duvets, white and coloured duvet covers, men’s and ladies’ handkerchiefs, textile waste, men’s and ladies’ pullovers and vests, plaid goods, children’s pram covers, white and coloured cushion covers, reinforced cashboxes, racquets, travelling blankets, rucksacks, skis, spirit cookers, dustsheets, embroidered blankets, straw beds and covers, stocking and socks (men’s, ladies’, children’s), men’s jackets, ladies’ dressing gowns, umbrellas, ladies’ basques, men’s boots and shoes, knee-boots, ladies’ boots and shoes (unsorted), aprons, white and coloured tableclothes, silk curtains, long and double curtains, blackout curtains, decorative covers, decorative cushions, waistcoats, equipment for home linen washing.

The Treuhandstelle was set up by order of the Central Office for Jewish Emigration on October 13, 1941 and it was the largest division of the Jewish Religious Community in Prague. The scope of its activities was already indicated by the time of its creation. The first mass transport of Jews left the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia only three days later. As on of the consequences, a large number of abandoned homes were left in the Protectorate, including all the furnishings. The possessions needed to be handed over to the Central Office for Jewish Emigration (renamed in August 1942 the Central Office for the Solution of the Jewish Question in Bohemia and Moravia). The Treauhandstelle was entrusted with registration and administration of the furnishings of the abandoned apartments and houses. The number of affected households understandably increased over time which also led to a growing volume of work and administrative duties of this department.

The main task of the Treuhandstelle was the registration and the administration of the movable assets left behind by those who were deported. Its employees not only collected the house keys from the persons gathered at the transport collection point but also register all the items left behind in the apartments, labelled them with the transport number of the original owner and then removed such “processed” movables to special depots intended for their storage. In these facilities, objects were further classified and valued. The persons who had to perform these tasks by order of the Central Office were employees of the Jewish Religious Community.

Different storage depots held items of different kinds and different qualities. There were spaces for storage of artworks, books, sewing machines, foodstuff, porcelain and glassware, gloves, gas stoves, musical or medical instruments and many others. The specialization evolved gradually in connection to the increasing volume of objects that had to be administered and filed. Still a larger number of abandoned apartments led to the necessity to increase also the number of the special warehouses. At the end of 1941, the Treuhandstelle had just five storage units, but already in February 1942, their number increased to nineteen. At the end of 1942, the Treuhandstelle already managed 56 specialized storage depots – in the majority of cases they were established in buildings originally belonging to victims of Nazi persecution.