Inflation in Germany in the 1920s
Martin Heidegger's Life


Martin Heidegger's wife Elfride Heidegger (née Petri) decided to build Die Hütte (cottage) in
Todtnauberg, Black Forest, Germany. Elfride used an advance of her inheritance to buy a
plot of land and pay a local carpenter to build the cottage, because of the depression
money was rapidly becoming worthless and she thought it wiser to invest her share in real-estate.

How bad was the inflation in Germany in the 1920s?

On October 11, 1924 the monetary unit of Germany was
changed from the Mark to the Reichsmark,
where 1 Reichsmark = 1,000,000,000,000 Mark.
USA's Federal Reserve quotations switched from the Mark to the
Reichsmark on October 29, 1924.

In June 1948 the monetary unit was changed to the Deutsche Mark,
where 1 Deutsche Mark = 10 Reichsmark.

For example, in the year 1920, it took 57.11 Mark to buy one U.S. Dollar.

The following table shows the exchange rate.

Year and then the rate for one U.S. Dollar to
Mark (M) or in 1925 to Reichsmark (RM).
So, you can see that one U.S. Dollar was worth
in 1921, 83.02 Marks. Then a year later the exchange
rate was 1 U.S. Dollar to 430.48 Marks.
*Note the rate in 1924 is not an error.

1919-1923 Heidegger teaches as an unsalaried lecturer and acts as Husserl's private assistant
at the University of Freiburg.

1919 M 32.85
1920 M 57.11 (Heidegger second son Hermann is born)
1921 M 83.02
1922 M 430.48 (August Die Hütte is finished)
1923 M 50000.00 (Heidegger moves to Marburg). Reported starting salary was 6535 Reich Marks yearly.
1924 M 4,329,000,000,000.00*
1925 RM 4.20
1926 RM 4.20 (Heidegger wrote Being and Time)
1927 RM 4.21
1928 RM 4.19 (Heidegger moves back to Freibrug). Reported offer was 11,600 Marks.* Gets phone: 7104.
1929 RM 4.20
1930 RM 4.19
1931 RM 4.23
1932 RM 4.21 (Heidegger on sabbatical 1932-33)
1933 RM 3.28 (Heidegger elected rector of the University of Freiburg)
1934 RM 2.54
1935 RM 2.48
1936 RM 2.48 (Heidegger's first Nietzsche seminar)
1937 RM 2.49
1938 RM 2.49
1939 RM 2.50 (Heidegger finished Beiträge zur Philosophie (Vom Ereignis)
1940 RM 2.50
1941 RM 2.50

*See more details of the offer in the letter of Martin Heidegger
to Karl Jaspers of March 6, 1928.

The following are scanned examples of Reichsbanknotes:

Reichsbanknotes 1000 from 21 April 1910.
Reichsbanknotes 5000 from 19 November 1922
Reichsbanknotes 10,000 from 19 Janurar 1922
Reichsbanknotes 20,000 from 20 Janurar 1923 (note serial number 843,250)
Reichsbanknotes 50,000,000 from 1 September 1923 (note serial number 128,115)

Pfennig 75 from Bremen.
Muncipal paper. Emergency money
15 September 1921.

Please note this money is no longer being used.
The cost of this money in 2002 was less than
US $5.00 each when purchased in the USA.

NOTE: I am not a collector. Please contact
your local coin collector or you might check
on e-bay if you are interested in what these
are worth today. They are an important part
of German history.

Developed by Daniel Fidel Ferrer.
August 22, 2003.