WWhen the water levels drop, they appear: the so-called hunger stones. Some of them have been lying in riverbeds for centuries and can only be seen when it is a really dry summer. Like this year. The Rhine in particular has been reporting one new low after another for weeks. Now, just like in the Elbe, the hunger stones have reappeared there, which otherwise disappear under the water surface.
With their inscriptions, they indicate years of drought, but they can also warn the viewer of the consequences of the lack of water: crop failures and famine. Because such a low water level also means that ships can no longer sail and food deliveries are missing.
Hunger stones especially in the Elbe
Pictures of the stones are currently being shared again on social media. The photo of the hunger stone from Děčín in the Czech Republic has almost 90,000 likes on Twitter collected. “If you see me, then cry” is carved there in German. The stone in the Elbe probably dates from 1616 and is located in the German-Czech border area.
However, as the “Spiegel” states, the image distributed on Twitter is not from this year at all, but probably from the hot summer of 2018. Because the Czech part of the Elbe has not reported any exceptionally low water levels so far. However, as various local media reports, hunger stones have appeared in the Weser, in the Werda dam, in the Saxon Vogtland, or in the Rhine.
At least there is hope that the levels will rise again in autumn. On a hunger stone in Lower Saxony it is written: “If this stone sinks, life will be more colorful again.”