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German History in Documents and Images
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Swapping on the Black Market (1946)
After 1945, food and daily necessities could only be acquired legally in stores in exchange for food coupons, and in small quantities. An illegal black market therefore arose. Despite frequent police raids, the black market only disappeared after the currency reform of 1948, when the elimination of state price and quantity controls enabled the development of a market price structure. This photograph shows the exchange of a hair dryer for a pair of shoes – both parties appear satisfied with the trade. Photographer unknown.