You Can’t Go Back
An old 1940s song had it, “You can’t go back to Constantinople… ‘cause it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople!” So it is with this attractive 1911 commemorative 3 Mark coin, struck at the Berlin Mint to hail the centenary of the University of Breslau. Struck in the high flood tide of the German empire, the obverse bears conjoined busts of King Friedrich Wilhelm III and Kaiser Wilhelm II with centennial legend. The reverse bears a modernistic imperial eagle that was supposed to be adopted for all silver coins but appears on only three.
What happened? The empire went down in defeat in November 1918. Much of the province of Silesia went to restored Poland, but Breslau remained German until World War II, when it fell to the advancing Red Army on May 7, 1945. The entire German population was then expelled in accordance with Allied agreements with Stalin. It became Wroclaw, People’s Republic of Poland. “You can’t go back to Breslau… ‘cause its Wrolclaw not Breslau…”