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The fateful year of 1923 Where there’s a will, there’s a way

1923 was the year of hyperinflation. To pay for a single loaf of bread, people in Germany carried their money in backpacks to the baker.

Despite hyperinflation, expansion of the German Watchmaking School secured

1923 was the year of hyperinflation. To pay for a single loaf of bread, people in Germany carried their money in backpacks to the baker. Ingenuity was therefore needed for investment activities. A workaround was used across the nation, as well as in Glashütte, the so-called Notgeld, or emergency money.

In such uncertain times, it gave the possibility of securing financing for the long-planned expansion of the German Watchmaking School in Glashütte. The Stadtgirokasse, or city clearing bank, in Glashütte had already given a guarantee for the financing of the planned expansion. However, because of hyperinflation and the associated devaluation of money, a further cash injection was called for. Mayor Opitz took the initiative on 15 September 1923. In a fiery speech at the inauguration of the extension building, his masterful use of rhetoric and great sense of humour charmed the guests gathered in Glashütte to acquire the notes printed especially for this purpose.

Written on the back of the Notgeldare the words ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way’. Mayor Opitz won the hearts of his audience. With the aid of the Notgeld, he succeeded in securing the additional funding needs. By acquiring the Notgeldand not redeeming it later, he was able to cover the construction costs for the extension.

In 1878, the German Watchmaking School was founded in Glashütte thanks to the initiative of the mastermind and watch pioneer Carl Moritz Grossmann – a novelty for the art of German watchmaking at the time. 45 years later – the watchmaking school had long since become an institution with worldwide appeal – the building required an extension to cater to the growing demand for students from all over the world.

The former School of Watchmaking now houses the German Watch Museum Glashütte. The extension serves as an impressive entrance to the building. Museum Director Reinhard Reichel welcomes the continuing interest in the history of German watchmaking. The special ‘More than theory and practice. German School of Watchmaking Glashütte 1878—1951” exhibition, which runs until 6 January 2019, reflects the importance of teaching at the German School Of Watchmaking in Glashütte.

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