Makeshift Economies: On Hunger, Shortage and Supply During World War II

6 May 2015 - 5 PM

Tatjana Tönsmeyer (Bergische Universität, Wuppertal)

Wars – both past and present – go hand in hand with the interruption of economic life. This is especially true of the Second World War, since the German occupiers pursued a rigid policy of exploitation and categorised above all Jewish people as so-called ‘useless eaters’ [‘unnütze Esser’]. While these circumstances are basically well-known, little attention has been paid to the question of how people throughout occupied Europe reacted to the shortages that arose during the occupation and what kinds of makeshift economies they developed. The paper will therefore explore these aspects and, in doing so, introduce an international editorial project which documents experiences of occupation between 1939 and 1945. 


Modern Jewish History Seminar

The seminar is intended to provide a platform for academic discussion about the latest research on Jewish history especially of the last three centuries. Though primarily focused on the Jews of central and east central Europe, the seminar also includes topics related to the Jews of other regions. The seminar is further enriched by including topics not directly concerned with Jews, but enabling one to see Jewish history from other perspectives (for instance, the perspective of other marginalized communities).

Despite our preference for the methods of historical research, the organizers welcome multidisciplinary approaches to the topics, including those of sociology, political science, religious studies, and art history.

The seminar is held in the library of CEFRES, Na Florenci 3, Prague 1 always at 5:30 p.m. The language of the seminar is English. The seminar is organized by Kateřina Čapková and Michal Frankl. Since 2018/2019 the seminar is included into the MA program of the Prague Center for Jewish Studies at the Charles University. Due to Michal Frankl’s stay abroad this academic year, all the questions and suggestions should be sent to Kateřina Čapková (