Currencies: 1938 to 1945

Back to main narrative

The discussion is split into three parts: The demise of the Schilling in 1938; Allied Military Currency; and The resurrection of the Schilling in 1945.

The resurrection of the Schilling in 1945

Two clippings from 1945 from the newspaper "Neues Österreich" help to explain a murky period in Austrian history. Summarised translations follow!

#1: November 18, 1945 "The end of the Reichsmark in Austria". The Allied Council has intended for a long time to replace the Reichsmark and the Allied Military Schilling by a single currency on the basis of the Austrian Schilling. The fact that the Reichsmark is legal tender in Austria but not in Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Jugoslavia has led to a flooding of Austria with Reichsmarks. Winter will make this difficult, especially in the more isolated parts of the country.

This is printed in pale green on an off-white paper, 4x2 inches. The back carries this wording:

Diese Note ist bis 20. December 1945 Zahlungsmittel in Österreich. Vom 23. bis 31. December 1945 kann diese Note nur mehr zur Einzahlung auf Konten oder Sparbücher verwendet werden. Die dadurch entstehenden Guthaben unterliegen den nach dem Schillinggesetz, StGBl. Nr. 231/1945, für Einlagen aus der Zeit vom 1. bis 22. December 1945 bestehenden Beschränkungen.

That means: This note is valid currency in Austria until 20 December 1945. From 23 to 31 December 1945 this note can be used only to pay in to deposit accounts or savings books. The resulting credit balances are subject to the Schilling-law, StGBl. No. 231/1945, and must comply with the existing limits for the period from 1 to 22 December 1945.

#2: Wednesday, December 19, 1945 "After Thursday only Schilling notes". (So that's why the eagle issue [ANK 714-736] lost its validity on December 20!) Tomorrow, Thursday, ends the period for exchanging banknotes; only Stragglers (Nachzügler) will be accepted on December 21 and 22. (In the decree mentioned in the next paragraph, this is said to refer to retail establishments.) German Banknotes for higher than 5 RM cease to be legal tender in Austria. They can only be used for foreign exchange (Auslandsvaluta); in Austria only the exchanged Austrian Schilling banknotes will be valid. They have been issued in 1000, 100, 20, & 10 Schilling notes, there are no 50s at present. For smaller amounts the notes in Mark will continue to be valid, also the Allied-issued Schilling notes.

A printed decree headed "A decree of November 30, 1945 issued on December 1, 1945" says that Reich banknotes of 10 Mark or more, and AM Schilling notes of 10 Schilling or more, will lose their validity at the end of December 20. It says the same as the 19 December clipping about small denomination notes that will continue to be valid, and also says that coins in the Reichsmark currency will continue to be valid. As of Dec 21 the Schilling is the only "Rechnungseinheit" (unit for accounting). One Mark will equal one Schilling. Then there are several pages of legal rules, what happens to insurance, savings accounts, how you go about delivering German banknotes and how you can try to get away with more than 150 Marks per person in your household.

As of November 1, 1945, the postal rates were the same in all of Austria, but the same numbers meant Groschen and Schilling in the western zones, and Pfennig and Mark in the Soviet Zone and in Vienna. The Generaldirektion für die Post- und Telegraphenverwaltung Wien took over all of Austria on October 10, 1945, according to a decree of the allied council of that date. It was signed by Dr. Dworschak on October 12, and (allegedly) published on October 15 - that's the date on the Verordnungsblatt.

1945 PTVOB007

Back to main narrative

The discussion is split into three parts: The demise of the Schilling in 1938; Allied Military Currency; and The resurrection of the Schilling in 1945.