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Introduction

  • Malte Zierenberg
Part of the Worlds of Consumption book series (WC)

Abstract

Yet another November 9. A less important one perhaps, certainly a different one. On November 9, 1944, Martha Rebbien, a black marketeer, was arrested in her Berlin apartment. For four years, she had participated in the black market, had found partners with whom to exchange goods, had learned the rules of the market, and had built up a distribution system. The present study uses Martha Rebbien’s exchange network as a thread to hold the story together. Because the history of these networks is embedded in their historical context, this is more than the history of an illegal trader. It is also the history of a market, the participants in this market, their practices and methods, the macroeconomic context, and how individuals adapted to everyday conditions. Finally, this is also the history of a city and its inhabitants during the transition from war to postwar. By following our protagonist Martha Rebbien and her companions, as well as the traders of Berlin’s illegal public marketplaces after 1945, we get a clearer picture of the black market as a radical market experience. It was this radical experience, this book argues, that shaped the discourses on postwar economies in both East and West Germany as key concepts for establishing the legitimacy of the new states.

Keywords

Market Participant Black Market Illegal Trading Currency Reform Illegal Market 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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