Station:  Wall of Ages
M: Offenbach’s city history at a glance! Our “Wall of Ages” display case features exhibits from the past two centuries that are typical of their respective times.
F: 1815 to 1871 was the period from the end of Isenburg rule to the founding of the German Empire. The exhibit of note is an Offenbach customs token, which was found in a garden in Quedlinburg, about 350 kilometres or 220 miles away. Offenbach was part of Hesse-Darmstadt at the time and also a member of the Prussian-Hessian Customs Union. The customs union between the Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt and the Kingdom of Prussia also included the town of Quedlinburg.
M: The period of the German Empire, from 1871 to 1918, is represented by a reservist’s beer mug from the 168th regiment, which was stationed in Offenbach at the time. At the end of his service with the regiment, each soldier received a mug like this one, with a personal dedication.
F: "Who wants to be a millionaire?" was the question during the Weimar period from 1918 to 1933. The answer is provided by the stack of inflation money paid out as wages to workers at a rusk factory. It’s secured with a band from the Merzbach bank, a venerable Offenbach institution. The total value of the banknotes was 50 million marks. But those "millionaires" had to spend the money at once, because by the following day, it had become essentially worthless.
M: The grim period of Nazi rule from 1933 to 1945 is represented by a toy plane, a bomber complete with bombs you could actually drop. It was a way of preparing even the youngest children for the Second World War. A Jewish star embodies the Shoah. In Offenbach as elsewhere, Jewish people all had to wear the yellow Star of David.
F: Germany’s zero hour struck in 1945 and ushered in the post-war era. Three years later, in 1948, after the currency reform, every citizen received an allowance of 40 German marks with which to make a new start. Known as “Kopfgeld”, literally head money, that allowance marked the beginning of Germany’s economic miracle.
Fotos: © Haus der Stadtgeschichte