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German issued Greek currency, 1,000,000 Drachmai note

Object | Accession Number: 2003.413.89

German-issued Greek National currency valued at 1 million 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 the face is an image of the head of the Antikythera Ephebe (also known as the Antikythera Youth), a bronze statue of a young man discovered in 1900 by sponge-divers off the island of Antikythera, Greece. The reverse features an image of the ruins of the Temple of Poseidon at the Cape of Sounion. 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 June 29
issue: Greece
Exchange Media
Object Type
Paper money (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Joel Forman
Record last modified: 2023-07-06 14:03:01
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