header Notes Collection

1 Mark 1919, Latvia

in Krause book Number: S226a
Years of issue: 10.10.1919
Signatures: Командующий Западной Добровольческой Армией: Полковник Павел Рафаилович Бермондт-Авалов, Начальник Отдела Государственнаго Хозяйства при Армии: Борис Александрович Энгельгардт
Serie: Western Volunteer Army Mark
Specimen of: 10.10.1919
Material: Unknown material
Size (mm): 100 х 70
Printer: Bundesdruckerei GmbH, Berlin

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1 Mark 1919




1 Mark 1919

In Russian language.

Across the field of banknote is floral pattern (on background).

In the lower left corner is the embossed printing (stamp)!

The inscription: "Western Volunteer Army, Mitau, Oct. 10, 1919".

"These banknotes are provided with all the treasure of Western volunteer army and are in use in the territory, occupied by the army. As legal tender from April 1, 1920 freely exchanged in army's Treasury brand to German Mark or equivalent Ruble currency.

The forgery of those banknotes are subject to strict punishment of the perpetrators".

The West Russian Volunteer Army or Bermontians was an army in the Baltic provinces of the former Russian Empire during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1920.

The Western Russian Volunteer Army, unlike the pro-Entente Volunteer Army was supported and in fact created by Germany. The Compiègne Armistice, article 12, stipulated that German troops were to remain in the Baltic provinces to help fight Bolshevik advances and were to withdraw once the Allies determined the situation was under control. The order to withdraw was given after the Treaty of Versailles was signed in June 1919.

However, only a small portion of the Freikorps in the Baltic retired; the rest stayed under the leadership of General Rüdiger von der Goltz. To avoid casting blame on Germany and infuriating the Allies, he withdrew into the background and merged his troops with the "Special Russian Corps", led by Cossack General Pavel Bermont-Avalov. The two generals recruited about 50,000 men: mostly Freikorps, Baltic Germans, as well as some Russian POWs captured by Germany in World War I and then released on the promise that they would help fight against the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War. The Army declared that it joined the forces of Aleksandr Kolchak and marched to attack Bolsheviks, but their real goal was to sustain German power in the Baltic region.

In October 1919 the West Russian Volunteer Army attacked the newly independent states of Lithuania and Latvia, to which Germany had granted independence. It briefly occupied the west bank of the Daugava river in Riga and the government of Kārlis Ulmanis had to request military assistance from Lithuania and Estonia. The Estonians sent two armoured trains to aid the Latvians (according to some explanations, in exchange for Latvia ceding the island of Ruhnu and its territorial waters to Estonia) while the Lithuanians were engaged in battles with the Bolsheviks and could only issue diplomatic protests. The Latvians also received assistance from the guns of a British Royal Navy battleship in Riga harbour.

In November the Latvian army managed to drive the Bermont-Avalov forces into Lithuanian territory. Finally, the West Russian Volunteer Army suffered heavy defeats by the Lithuanians near Radviliškis, a major railway centre. After the involvement of the Entente military mission, the remaining elements of the West Russian Volunteer Army withdrew from the Baltics into Germany.

Jelgava (pronounced jælɡava; German: Mitau) is a city in central Latvia about 41 kilometers (25 miles) southwest of Riga. It is the largest town in the region of Zemgale (Semigalia). Jelgava was the capital of the united Duchy of Courland and Semigallia (1578-1795) and the administrative center of the Courland Governorate (1795-1918).

Centered, above denomination in words, is lesser coat of arms of Russian empire.

coat russia

The lesser coat of arms of the Russian Empire under the reign of Nicholas II, the last Emperor of Russia. The double-headed eagle represents sovereignty over both the East and the West, while the three crowns symbolise the conquered kingdoms of Kazan, Astrakhan, and Siberia. Alternatively, they are interpreted as standing for the unity of Great Russia (Russia), Little Russia (the Ukraine) and White Russia (Belarus). The center is the escutcheon of St. George, surrounded by the collar of the Order of Saint Andrew, which was the highest order of chivalry in the Russian Empire. St. George would eventually become the patron saint of Moscow (and, by extension, of Russia). The wings bear the Arms of Astrakhan, Siberia, Georgia, Finland, Kiev-Vladimir-Novgorod, Taurica, Poland and Kazan, the provinces of the Russian Empire. The scepter in the left talon represents total secular authority, whereas the globus cruciger in the right talon represents total religious authority. (Russian coats of arms)

The signatures on banknote are:

BermondtThe commander of the Western Volunteer Army, Colonel Avalov-Bermondt.

Pavel Rafalovich Bermon(d)t-Avalov (Avalishvili) (Russian: Павел Рафалович Бермон(д)т-Авалов) (4 March 1877 - 27 January 1974) was an Ussuri Cossack and warlord.

Bermondt-Avalov was born at Tbilisi in Tiflis Governorate, modern Georgia. He adopted his second surname Avalov (Avalishvili) after his adoptive father, Georgian prince Mikhail Avalishvili. He received a musical education joining the Ussuri cossacks in 1906 after serving as a musical conductor in the Transbaikal cossacks. He joined a regiment of Lancers in 1909 and was promoted to Captain in 1914.

He was appointed to lead the German-established Western Russian army (subsequently frequently known after his name as "the Bermontians") which was meant to go to fight the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War, but, believing that communists would be defeated without his help, Pavel Bermondt-Avalov decided to strike against the newly independent nations of Lithuania and Latvia instead. His "Special Russians Corps" supposedly numbered about 50,000 men. He was one of the few anti-communist generals who openly propagandized monarchist ideals.

Bermondt-Avalov was promoted Major General in 1918. He took over the White Forces in the Baltic from Prince Anatoly Lieven, who commanded a contingent in the Baltische Landwehr. In 1919, his forces joined those of Major General Rüdiger von der Goltz to form the so-called "West Russian Volunteer Army" which attempted to proclaim the "Western Central Government" in Riga. German Free Corps were operating in the Baltic States since spring 1919 to keep away the Red Army. In summer 1919 the Entente States and the German government ordered the troops back, but the soldiers refused. Until beginning of October most of the 40,000 German volunteers entered the Bermondt-Army consisting of about 10,000 Russians, mostly former prisoners of war released from German camps. With this masquerade[citation needed] the Germans tried to keep their engagement in the Baltics and to secure German interests in the area. They used Bermondt for their own purposes. Since the German government stopped paying for the troops, finances were coming mostly from German economic leaders that had interests in the Baltics. At the end the Army printed its own money.

The Western Russian army managed to capture Zemgale, Courland (except Liepāja), Samogitia and entered Riga, but later were defeated by the Latvian and Lithuanian armies, with the help of the Estonian forces. This Baltic diversion of Bermondt-Avalov heavily contributed to his already existing reputation as an "adventurer" (such as General Bulak-Balakovich) especially among Latvian historians . Under pressure of the Baltic independent states then in formation, the Entente and the German government the Army withdrew. By mid-December 1919 the last Russo-German soldiers crossed the borders into Germany (Tilsit).

Pavel Bermondt-Avalov then emigrated to Western Europe, where he published a book of memoirs. He lived in Germany from 1921 and was involved in right wing movements. He was imprisoned by the Nazis in 1936 and deported. He settled in Belgrade and later moved to the USA. Pavel Bermondt-Avalov died in New York City, USA, in 1974.

EngelhardtHead of the National Economy under the Army Engelhardt.

Boris Alexandrovich Engelhardt (1877-1962) - Russian military and political leader, the first commandant of the revolutionary Petrograd during the February Revolution.


Centered, under denomination in words, is Earl Keller's cross (Maltese shape).

In late 1918, after the fall of the Hetman Skoropadsky, Colonel Bermondt-Avalov evacuated from Kiev with the Germans. Russian officers were interned in a camp "Salzwedel". Here he was born the idea to form in the Baltic States and Germany allied army of volunteers. It became a symbol of though known "Keller's cross", in shape of white Maltese cross, symbolizing "patience and tireless struggle" - in memory of a worn it (as a graduate of the Corps of Pages) Earl Keller. Later, the color of the cross has been changed to black.

On background, in white color, are two Russian Orthodox crosses.

Denominations in numerals are on the right and left sides, centered in words.


1 Mark 1919

In German language (the text is same as on obverse).

"Western Volunteer Army, Mitau, Oct. 10, 1919".

"These banknotes are provided with all the treasure of Western volunteer army and are in use in the territory, occupied by the army. As legal tender from April 1, 1920 freely exchanged in army's Treasury brand to German Mark or equivalent Ruble currency.

The forgery of those banknotes are subject to strict punishment of the perpetrators".

Denominations in numerals are in all corners, centered in words.


Were issued such denominations: 1, 5, 10 and 50 Mark. The total amount was 10 000 000 Mark.

On banknotes (except 50 Mark) is the release date - October 10, 1919 and signed by them Bermondt-Avalov as commander of the army. It follows that for a period not exceeding two weeks Bermondt-Avalon managed to get a new position - he became commander in chief, as evidenced by his signature on the declaration, which was released October 24, 1919.

Money of Western army were printed on white paper without watermark, but they all have a good ornamental and artistic performance. All bills have the series and number, and in some instances, even performed embossing printing - the stamp.

These banknotes come into circulation on par with the German occupying money issued by loan office of the city of Kovno (East Mark). The announcement was given terms of exchange unreleased signs in Western credit office on the East Marks. Thus, the right to exchange provided for the following categories of persons:

- All in the service of Western military and fired home leave, as well as sending money to their families through the Western credit bureau;

- Persons who have received permission to travel abroad;

- Traders who buy goods abroad.

From the list that banknotes Bermondt-Avalov intended mainly for the treatment is not among the Russian of the army, but among the German soldiers and those that supply their products. The announcement also stated that the moneys were provided with all the property and all the Western army of government property, located on the occupied territory of the army. He was also given a course of this money, namely: 2 Marks of Western army equal to 1 East Mark (East rubles) and 2 Russian Imperial Rubles.

To the population of the occupied territories of the Western Army took the money, promised to sell the wood and wood materials mainly to those local residents, who will pay by this money. The Army clearly understood that such privileges are not entice locals to take the money the army, and even at official fixed rate. Therefore, in accordance with the order-Bermondt Avalov in the announcement were given the following penalties for violations of the rules prescribed course of treatment:

- Those who have refused to accept banknotes Western Volunteer Army, or take them to the lower exchange rate are subject to a fine not exceeding one thousand imperial rubles, or imprisonment up to 6 months, or both penalties together;

- A person caught in the malicious campaign against symbols of Western Volunteer Army, will be brought to a military court.