Black Markets from the End of the War to the Currency Reform

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


The appearance of Berlin’s black markets changed toward the end of the war. The public black markets emerged as the state’s control over the city began to erode and a new form of political control had not yet been established. Although illegal bartering transactions continued to take place in apartments, restaurants, and in other open public locations, marketplaces also sprang up at this time, open to the public, where bartering no longer had to be pre-arranged. Henceforth, those who wanted to exchange goods could assume with relative security that they merely had to visit one of the well-known places to meet others interested in exchanging goods. Expanding the areas involved in market activity made business considerably easier. The costs for the participants likewise decreased. Traders who had not previously dared to engage in bartering in the open street and violate city ordinances now found a new situation. The larger the crowd of people meeting publicly to exchange goods became, the lower was the threshold to join in. A self-fulfilling, self-generating process set in that new countermeasures were no longer able to stop, let alone reverse.1


Organize Crime Black Market Train Station German Woman Illegal Market 


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© Malte Zierenberg 2015

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