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Aachen District, 20 billion mark note, saved by German Jewish refugee

Object | Accession Number: 2011.259.20

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    Aachen District, 20 billion mark note, saved by German Jewish refugee


    Brief Narrative
    Aachen District, Germany 20 billion mark note saved by Carl Werner Lenneberg. This note was emergency currency, valid for one year, 1923-1924, issued by the local government in Aachen during the period of hyperinflation that threatened the stability of the country. Inflation was unstoppable: in 1919, there were 47 marks to a dollar; in 1922, it went from 1000 to 7000; in 1923, from 17,000 to 4,200,000,000,000. Lenneberg was a decorated World War I veteran orginally from Remscheid. In January 1933, Hitler and the Nazi regime took power. Anti-Jewish policies put increasingly harsh restrictions on Jewish life. Werner and his brother Georg were arrested during Kristallnacht, November 9-10, 1938, and sent to Dachau concentration camp. After release, they left Germany on the ill-fated voyage of the MS St. Louis to Havana, Cuba, May 13-June 17, 1939. Upon the ship's forced return to Europe, Carl and George were in the group given asylum in Belgium. In April 1940, they sailed from Antwerp to New York.
    issue:  1923 October 12
    issue: Aachen (Germany : Landkreis)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Ron Lenneberg
    face left, brown ink : Umlaufstähig / im ganzen Regierungsbezirk Aachen / Gültig bis zum 1. April 1924 [In circulation / throughout the government district Aachen / Valid till 1. April 1924]
    face, center, brown ink : Stadt = und Landkreis Aachen / 20 Milliarden 20 Milliarden Gutschein / über / 20 Milliarden Mark / Die Einlöjung erfolgt bei allen öffentlichen Kassen des / Stadt = und Landkreises Aachen / Aachen, den 12. Oktober 1923. / Der Oberbürgermeister J.B. / Der Vorsitzende / des Kreisausschusses [City and District Aachen / 20 Billion Voucher 20 Billion / about / 20 Billion Mark / the Levy shall be lodged with all public funds of the / State and District Aachen / Aachen, the 12. October 1923. / the Lord Mayor J.B. / The Chairman / of the District committee]
    face, bottom center, black ink : Serie A / No 93532 ✽
    face, bottom, brown ink : Wickmann ?
    back, yellow ink : 20 MILLIARDEN [20 BILLION]

    Physical Details

    Exchange Media
    Physical Description
    20 Billion mark note printed on rectangular offwhite paper in brown ink over yellow underprint. At left is a vertical panel with German text. To the right is a underprint rectangle with a latticework background. In the left is a panel with a man swinging a mallet against a vine Art Nouveau pattern; on the right is a similar panel with a man holding a pickaxe over his shoulder. Over this rectangle is German text with the denomination 20 Milliarden Mark across the center and 2 seals of District Aachen with illegible French text. The serial number is in black ink at the bottom center. The back is yellow with a rectangle with a zigzag edge and a floral background with 2 shields, one with a mallet and pickaxe; the other with a shuttle. At the bottom is the denomination 20 milliarden. The note is discolored and creased.
    overall: Height: 3.000 inches (7.62 cm) | Width: 5.125 inches (13.017 cm)
    overall : paper, ink

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The money was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2011 by Ron Lenneberg, the son of Carl Werner Lenneberg.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:26:35
    This page:

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