Waiting for Special Rations: Line in Front of a Butcher Shop in Hamburg-Winterhude (1947)
Hunger, deprivation, cold, and diseases resulting from dietary deficiencies were part of everyday life in postwar Germany. In Hamburg, the worst hardship occurred from late 1945 to early 1947. The authorities fixed daily caloric intake at 1,550 for “normal consumers,” who were sarcastically referred to as “maximum do-withouters” in the vernacular. Given the shortage of supplies, official caloric intake in the British occupation zone – which included Hamburg – was reduced to 1,000 calories per day in late February 1946. It was not until spring 1947 that food rations were increased to ensure a caloric intake of 1,550 per day for the residents of large cities in the British zone. It was therefore vitally important for the population to find ways to supplement these meager food rations, whether through black market purchases or special allocations of food. Photograph by Gerd Mingram [Germin].