Berlin Blockade: To Save Energy, Meals were Cooked in a "Cooking Chest" (1948)
During the night of June 23, 1948, the Soviets shut down the Golpa-Zschornewitz power plant (about 140 km southwest of Berlin), which supplied Berlin with electricity. Other power plants under Soviet control delivered little or no electricity either. The Soviet blockade of access routes to West Berlin began on June 24, 1948, making it difficult to bring in coal. As a result, neither the power plants in the Western sector of Berlin nor the city's population could be adequately supplied with coal. Despite the considerable achievements of the Allied airlift, the blockade resulted in drastic restrictions for West Berliners: it was almost impossible to heat buildings during the winter, and electrical power was available to private households only from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the afternoon and from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m in the morning. Meals were briefly heated on the stove and then carefully packed into an insulated chest, where they were cooked. Photo by Peters.