Supply Situation

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Breslau similarly reported that numerous families in the cities of Glogau, Hirschberg, Landeshut, Liegnitz, Sagan and Schweidnitz had not received any potatoes for weeks. In Schweidnitz, for example, households of five people received 6 kg potatoes on October 22, 1943 for the first time since the end of September.

The potato supply was especially bad in the Hirschberg district where the most unpleasant scenes played out in front of related businesses. Circumstances in the region of Liegnitz were also similar. Some consumers there had been waiting for potatoes for eight weeks. Housewives downright stormed every small delivery arriving at small retailers. No one had given thought to storing them in a cellar at all.

In Sagan, too, large segments of the population had not received their rations for weeks since the merchants received only half or even only one quarter of the quantities necessary for consumption. People there were seriously concerned how the quantity of 44,000 centners for storage in cellars could be procured when considerable difficulties already existed delivering the regular requirement of 1,200 centners per week Everyday life in general became more and more hopeless in the final two years of the war. The supply situation worsened visibly with the bombardments and above all with the loss of the territories in western, eastern and southern Europe that were recaptured by the Allies:

Major bottlenecks occurred from time to time. A catastrophic famine like that of 1916-17 during World War I did not affect the Germans again however until nearly the end of World War II, conditions in the countryside being more bearable than in cities. An SD report of November 11, 1943 provides insight into the food supply:

(Boberach, Meldungen aus dem Reich 15, p. 6000).

The supply of civilian apparel and work clothes and shoes grew worse and worse from mid-1944 onward. What is more, bombardments caused the virtually irreplaceable loss of vast quantities of furniture, household effect and other everyday items.

The issuance of ration coupons for food, fats, clothing, furniture, heating material, cigarettes and even gasoline and dog food that had started in 1939 was intended to assure supplies. Such coupons only entitled one to the receipt of goods, however; they provided no guarantee that they would also be obtainable.

Demands in factories soon mounted until barely tolerable. Many businessmen worked closely together with the Gestapo. The latter now intervened even at the slightest violations of disciplines at work. “Additional stress” was especially burdensome: air raid warnings and cleanup and repairs deprived people of urgently needed sleep. This had consequences. Absences in businesses due to illness rose noticeably, as did the number of accidents. This affected forced laborers and concentration camp inmates disproportionately more.

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