GERMANY, GROSS-PORITSCH POW camp, 1 pfennig, 1.2.1916


GERMANY, GROSS-PORITSCH, Prisoner of War camp, 1 pfennig, 1.2.1916, T302.01, Unc

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Gross-Poritsch was near Zittau, in Saxony.

There are several references for prisoner of war notes. One is Prisoner of War and concentration Camp Money of the 20th Century, by Lance K Campbell. Another: Katalog des Papiergeldes der deutschen Kriegsgefangenenlager im 1.Weltkrieg,by Reinhard Tieste.

Germany united as a collection of independent entities: kingdoms, duchies, free cities, etc. The finances were an interesting hybrid of local and central control systems. The hybrid system continued into the Weimar Republic, with local banks issuing local notes to supplement those of the central government. This localism persisted into the early 20th century. When cash was short local administrations already had a tradition of issuing local money.

The general idea of prisons being to keep those people away from everyone else, the next question is are you going to let them engage in any kind of economy at all, or are you just going to run everything about their lives? If you let them have “real money” they will inevitably get the guards to engage in corrupt activities, so, institutional money that can’t be used anywhere else. The denominations on these chits bore no relation to normal money.

Paper money, meaning the promise of a government to pay a set amount, and the paper promise allowed to circulate at will, was probably first used in China in the 12th century AD. At that time the merchants and governments of Europe were just writing letters to each other about what they owed.