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

6 May 2015 - 5 PM

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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.

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