When Germany had witches on its banknotes

During the first world war and the economic crisis which followed there were cash shortages. Many German towns responded by issuing Notgeld, or emergency money. In order to popularise their Notgeld banknotes, many towns deployed ornate or funny designs. These included depictions of local legends and fairy tales – such as this example below of witches flying off for a gathering on the Brocken (tallest mountain in the Harz).

An exhibition of Notgeld, “Currency in Crisis,” starts next week at the British Museum in London, and runs until 29 March 2020.

A four hour journey from Pempelfort to Krefeld

One of the sources I used while writing The Devil’s Missal was the journal of Steven Jan de Geuns, a Dutch academic who travelled extensively through Germany in the company of Alexander von Humboldt, passing through Meerbusch on 26th October 1789.

De Geuns waxed lyrical about Krefeld, calling it a beautiful city, clean and the closest to a Dutch city that he had seen (being a Dutchman himself, presumably this was high praise). His sightseeing tour of the city appears to have consisted of a tour of several factories. Meerbusch is mentioned only as consisting of fertile agricultural land. Which sounds about right for the period.