The not-so-golden times of Kremnica

THIS reproduction of a painting by Vojtech Angyal shows the yard of a house owned by a not so very well-off family living in Kremnica. Although the town is famous for its silver and gold works, much less is known about the individuals who once ensured this production of wealth through a number of minor but crucial jobs.

THIS reproduction of a painting by Vojtech Angyal shows the yard of a house owned by a not so very well-off family living in Kremnica. Although the town is famous for its silver and gold works, much less is known about the individuals who once ensured this production of wealth through a number of minor but crucial jobs.

These were not only the hundreds of miners, metalworkers and stamp-mill workers employed directly in the mines but also the many craftsmen who earned their living by processing the ore. In addition, the rich families managing the mining companies employed a considerable number of servants and a significant part of the population also worked at the Kremnica mint.

In 1767, for example, the state-owned mining industry employed 1,299 workers who indirectly supported around 10,000 people more.

Though the fates of a great majority of these individuals remained unknown, some made it to the annals of history thanks to various unusual deeds. This was the case of Lorenz Daubner, from the village of Sklené, who played an interesting role during a visit to Kremnica by Holy Roman Emperor Francis I in 1751.

As supernatural forces were still believed to exist in those times, a mine dwarf called permoník had to be present during the Emperor’s visit. Daubner, who was of extremely short stature, probably suffering from dwarfism, was dressed up like a real dwarf and lifted to Francis I by one of his horsemen to present a few pieces of gold from the Kremnica mines. Nobody has heard of Daubner ever since, but his name has been somehow passed on until today.

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