City of Berlin owes trillions of euros to small town

The German town of Mittenwalde loaned the city of Berlin 11,200 guilders 540 years ago, when Mittenwalde was a seat of power. Berlin has never repaid the debt. With interest, and adjusted for inflation, the note (which has been authenticated) is worth trillions of euros, and Mittenwalde wants it back.

Town historian Vera Schmidt found the centuries-old debt slip in the archive, where it had been filed in 1963. Though the seal is missing from the document, Schmidt told Reuters that she was certain the slip was still valid.

"In 1893 there was a debate in which the document was examined and the writing was determined to be authentic," Schmidt said.

Schmidt and Mittenwalde's Mayor Uwe Pfeiffer have tried to ask Berlin for their money back. Such requests have been made every 50 years or so since 1820 but always to no avail.

540-year-old debt. Trillions owed. But will German village get repaid?