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German issued Greek currency, 100 billion Drachmai note

Object | Accession Number: 2003.413.71

German-issued Greek National currency valued at 100 billion Drachmai. The Greek currency, called Drachma, can be traced back to the 6th century BC. The currency was discontinued after the Roman conquest of Greece, and reissued after Greece gained independence from the Ottoman Empire. Many of the Greek notes featured figures and images from Greek Mythology. Featured on this note are the king and queen of the Olympian gods, Zeus and Hera; the Cretan Bull, which was captured by Heracles; and Deidamia of Scyros who was Achilles’ wife, and mother of his son, Neoptolemus. On October 28, 1940, Italy invaded Greece, but they were repelled by the Greek forces. On April 6, 1941, Germany invaded Greece to support Italy and forced the Grecians to surrender by the end of the month. Germany, Italy, and Bulgaria collectively occupied Greece until Italy’s surrender to the Allies in September 1943. Then Germany occupied all of Greece, and forced the Greek government to pay for the occupation by printing more paper money with higher denominations. The excess Drachmai caused hyperinflation, and the price for goods and services rose dramatically. During the occupation, the price of corn was 9 million Drachmai per pound. The essentially worthless paper bills gave way to bartering of supplies such as olive oil, cigarettes, and wheat. Due to the invasion and the harsh economic policies, hundreds of thousands Grecians died from lack of food during the German occupation.

issue:  1944 November 03
issue: Greece
Exchange Media
Object Type
Paper money (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Joel Forman
Record last modified: 2021-02-10 09:29:18
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