“If you see me, weep”: What are Hunger Stones? (2022)

Hunger Stones are manmade landmarks often found in the rivers in Central Europe. The thing about these stones is, they only become visible when the water goes below a certain level.

The purpose of these stones is to warn future generations about coming hardships related to droughts & famines.

These stones were embedded into the rivers in Germany & other german settlements from 15th to 19th century.

Since then, the stones have done their work pretty well, whenever they’re seen, there was a drought or similar situation.

One such example is in Elbe River in Czech Republic, on which “Wenn du mich siehst, dann weine” (lit. “If you see me, weep”) was written. The stone surfaced in 2018, when serious droughts were ravaging parts of Central Europe.

Note: Elbe river is the same Elbe river, where Soviet & American troops met while they were advancing on Germany from both sides. DW also reported that, ammunitions from World War 2 had also surfaced due to low water levels.

In past, the stones had also appeared, one such example was in 1918, which also followed widespread world famine during World War 1.

The oldest recorded Hunger Stone was found with year 1417 carved on it, but it was no longer readable due to ships anchoring over the years. The readable year on the same stone was 1616, the stone surfaced in 2018 on Elbe River in Czech Republic.

According to Pirna city archives, there was a stone with the year 1115 carved on it, but it’s location is no longer known.