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Promissory Notes and the Reich Flight Tax

In 1931, before the Nazis came to power, the Reich Flight Tax, which taxed the wealthiest Germans at 25% when they emigrated from Germany, was implemented to keep capital in Germany. When the Nazis were in power, they taxed all Jews leaving Germany, regardless of their wealth. The Nazis raised the tax amount from 20% in January 1934 to 65% in August 1934. By 1936, the cost for a Jewish family to leave Germany was up to 96% of the family’s total wealth. 


When Hitler came to power in 1933 and started restricting Jewish rights, Jews tried to leave Nazi-occupied Germany. The regime encouraged Jews to leave and granted them exit visas. Finding a country that welcomed Europe’s Jews was much more difficult. Jews who did secure entry visas had to pay the Reich Flight Tax. Throughout the 1930s, in exchange for the money the Jews surrendered for the hefty Reich Flight Tax, the Nazi government issued Konversionkasse, or promissory notes of equal value to what was confiscated. Upon arrival in the new country, refugees expected that these notes could be exchanged for local currency, however, these notes were worthless. 

10 reichsmark note

This is a 10 reichsmark note from 1934.

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