- Black Market
- Following the German occupation of Poland, the black market became a source of huge profits for those who engaged in this nefarious practice. This was especially true in regard to the availability of food supplies. Food shortages manifested themselves soon after the German invasion, exacerbated by the burning of crops by the retreating Polish army, which resulted in huge queues outside food stores across occupied Poland. In the General-Gouvernment, the situation became critical in the first few months of 1940 as the German administration was forced to bring grain in from Germany to feed a near-starving population.The distribution of the food, however, was based on criteria established by the German government; the bulk of the supplies went to the occupiers, as well as to Poles working on key installations like the railways, Ukrainians and ordinary Poles were next, and Jews at the bottom of the list. As food became ever more scarce by 1941, the rations for the Poles in Warsaw were reduced to 669 calories a day as opposed to 2,613 for the Germans and 184 calories for the Jews. Under these conditions, a black market thrived for those who could afford to pay for food. As more Jews were concentrated in ghettos, the food situation grew progressively worse, and exorbitant prices were paid by those who still had the means to purchase food. But as the food became scarcer, death by starvation became commonplace.See also Typhus.
Historical dictionary of the Holocaust. Jack R. Fischel. 2014.