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German issued Greek currency, 2 billion Drachmai note

Object | Accession Number: 2003.413.86

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    German issued Greek currency, 2 billion Drachmai note


    Brief Narrative
    German-issued Greek National currency valued at 2 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 and history. Featured on this note is a partial image of the South Frieze of the Parthenon in Athens. The frieze shows the procession of the Panathenaic festival, commemorating the birthday of the goddess Athena. On April 6, 1941, Germany invaded Greece to support Italy and forced the Greeks 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 of Greeks died from lack of food during the German occupation.
    issue:  1944 October 11
    issue: Greece
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Joel Forman
    face, top, printed, black ink : ΤΡΑΠΕΖΑ ΤΗΣ ΕΛΛΑΔΟΣ [BANK OF GREECE]
    face, center, printed, black ink : ΔΡΑΧΜΑΙ / 2000 / ΔΥΟ ΧΙΛΙΑΔΕΣ ΕΚΑΤΟΜΜΥΡΙΑ / ΠΛΗΡΩΤΕΑΙ ΕΠΙ ΤΗ, ΕΜΦΑΝΙΣΕΙ / ΕΝ ΑΘΗΝΑΙΣ TH, 11H ΟΚΤΩΒΡΙΟΥ 1944 / Ο ΔΙΟΙΚΗΤΗΣ / [illegible signature] / ΟΙ ΔΙΕΥΘΥΝΤΑΙ / [illegible signature] [DRACHMAI / 2000 / MILLION / IS PAYABLE ON DEMAND / IN ATHENS, October 11, 1944 / THE COMMANDER / THE DIRECTOR]
    face, corners, printed, black ink : 2000
    reverse, top, printed, green ink : ΤΡΑΠΕΖΑ ΤΗΣ ΕΛΛΑΔΟΣ [BANK OF GREECE]
    reverse, center, printed, green ink : ΔΡΑΧΜΑΙ / 2000 / ΕΚΑΤΟΜΜΥΡΙΑ [DRACHMAI 2000 MILLION]
    reverse, bottom, printed, green ink : ΕΚΔΟΣΙΣ ΠΡΩΤΗ [FIRST PUBLICATION]
    reverse, corners, printed, green ink : 2000
    Issuer: Trapeza te?s Hellados

    Physical Details

    Exchange Media
    Object Type
    Paper money (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Greek currency printed on lightweight, off-white rectangular paper. The face has a lightly patterned, green background with a narrow, black border. In the center is a long, rectangular image of a portion of the Parthenon Frieze, depicting several men in tunics leading bulls to slaughter. The image is in black and is comprised of hatched lines. The numeric denomination is printed in each corner, and across a black, scrollwork-patterned medallion in the center with Greek text above and below. The serial number is stamped in black on the upper right. The reverse has a large, centered, green, rectangular shape with rounded sides. The denomination is in each corner, a ribbon with text is overlaid in the center of the upper border, and a line of text is at the bottom. In the center, the denomination is overlaid on a scrollwork background. The background is overlaid on a ribbon comprised of sinuous, folded lines.
    overall: Height: 5.500 inches (13.97 cm) | Width: 2.500 inches (6.35 cm)
    overall : paper, ink
    face, top, right, stamped, black ink : KZ 275697

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

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    Administrative Notes

    The currency was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2003 by Joel Forman.
    Record last modified:
    2023-09-15 10:15:21
    This page:

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