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January-February 2015

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The Clara Mine, Near Wolfach in the Black Forest, Germany: From the Myth of the “Golden Calf” to Modern Mining

Tradition holds that the wooded ridge known as Benau Hill, located between the Wildschapbach Valley and the Upper Rankach Valley, was named for the formerly thriving mining town of Benau. The inhabitants, indulging in wealth and leading a dissipated life, praised the “golden calf” and subsequently incurred the wrath of God. The town was destroyed, and the calf was hidden in the mountain. According to another legend, two men from Oberwolfach tried to find the “golden calf” with magic. It is said that a magic mirror told them that the calf would stand on an iron chest. They dug a tunnel and reached the calf. One of the men, trying to touch the calf, was hit so violently by an invisible hand that he let go. He became insane, and his companion turned blind. The legend of the “golden calf” and once enormous riches in the Benau Hill continues to be told even now (List 1969).

Wolfgang Wendel and his wife, Karin, run one of the largest mineral dealerships in Europe and participate in the major mineral shows worldwide.

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