Grocery brand

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Grocery menu from Lower Saxony, 1950
Grocery menu of the GDR, 1958

A food stamp is a document issued by public authorities to certify that the owner can buy a certain food in a certain amount. Grocery stamps are usually issued to the population in times of need, especially during war , in order to better manage the general shortage of consumer goods . The brands are summarized in food cards . In addition to food, other consumer goods, e.g. B. rationed heating material (coals), clothing, luxury goods such as cigarettes and alcohol as well as gasoline . The permits are then usually called reference certificates . A special occasion - such as the birth of a child - had to be present or an application had to be made in order to be granted a subscription.


Germany in the First World War

In Germany , on January 25, 1915, bread was initially rationed during the First World War with the introduction of the bread menu. This rationing was later followed by milk , fat , eggs and other foods . So there was B. the "card to receive butter , margarine - vegetable fat " (there was a fat gap until the 1950s ), but also a " soap card ".

The rationing became necessary because the British naval blockade meant that it was hardly possible to import any food. In turn, domestic production declined because many farmers had been drafted. Since August 1, 1916, an ordinance regulating traffic in woven, knitted and knitted goods was in effect in Germany. The obligation to obtain a coupon was introduced in December 1916 and extended to include footwear .

Germany in World War II

"Reichsfettkarte" for young people from 1941

Looking back on the experiences of the First World War, the Nazi leadership feared an insufficient food supply for the population and an associated famine. On August 27, 1939, four days before the start of the Second World War (and three days after the original order to attack Poland ), the ordinance for the provisional safeguarding of the vital needs of the German people was passed, with which the rationing and purchase coupons for a large number of consumer goods were introduced. Uniform identity cards on pink watermarked paper were issued as reference certificates by the lower administrative authorities, which, in addition to a trunk section, contained 72 subsections on which the consumable goods were listed (Section 3 (1) of the Regulation of August 27, 1939).

The Reich clothing card followed in November 1939 .

Initially, a “standard card” was issued for food, which was valid for four weeks. At first the dealer could be chosen freely and the cards had order forms for certain goods. The trader cut off these order forms, stamped them and submitted them collectively to the Reich Food Office . For this he received a purchase order from this office with which the merchant could order an appropriate amount from the wholesaler. This system soon proved impractical. In the course of the war, the order form system was replaced by a so-called "continuous subscription right": Dealers cut off the appropriate brand when selling the goods, stuck them on collective sheets and then received a purchase form that they presented to the wholesaler or importer.

Potatoes , fruit and vegetables were still freely sold in the first few months. The "standard card" initially distributed was soon supplemented or replaced by different cards. In late 1939, there were cards for heavy and hard workers and one for long and night workers . There were bread, meat, fat, egg and jam / sugar cards . In addition, different cards were distributed for toddlers and toddlers, for children up to six years of age, for teenagers and adults. Soldiers on vacation (who stayed with their families) were also given appropriate vacation cards. The rural population, who were at least partially self-sufficient, received lower rations. So-called normal consumers made up 55% of the recipients, children and young people 31% and 14% were classified as long-term, heavy or heavy-duty workers. German Jews were excluded from all special assignments and received no meat or clothing tickets from October 1942 . The rationing of food also exacerbated the situation of Jews and other people who had gone into hiding in order to avoid arrest or deportation: Without cards, it was hardly possible for them to obtain food; Any helpers who were there could hardly give them anything, as the rations were too tight to take care of one or even more hidden people.

Up to and including 1941, the food supply - apart from regional and seasonal bottlenecks - was still perceived as satisfactory in cities and metropolitan areas. In April 1942, however, there were drastic cuts: the bread ration for normal consumers was cut from 9.6 kg to 6.4 kg, the meat allotment from 1600 g to 1200 g and the fat filtration from 1053 g to 825 g per month. In the “ Secret Situation Reports ” of the SS Security Service it was reported that the severe cuts had had a “devastating effect” on a large part of the population like no other event in the war. The memory of the hunger winters of 1916/17 ( turnip winters ) and 1918/19 was very present in the collective memory .

The weekly rations of a "normal consumer" (e.g. housewives, employees) amounted to:

time loaf flesh fat
September 1939 2400 gr. 500 gr. 270 gr.
April 1942 2000 gr. 300 gr. 206 gr.
June 1943 2325 gr. 250 gr. 218 gr.
October 1944 2225 gr. 250 gr. 218 gr.
March 1945 1778 gr. 222 gr. 109 gr.

It must be noted that the food stamps and the vouchers only signify an authorization to buy, there was no obligation of any kind to offer or sell the goods by dealers: If the owners did not succeed in purchasing the goods (e.g. . in the absence of an offer) these lapsed without being transferred to the following reference periods. In other words, if you couldn't use your card (or the voucher ), for whatever reason, you had less available. The announced rationings were by no means a guarantee that the rationed goods could be purchased. As a result, the actual consumption was always below the amounts indicated by the rationing.

post war period

After the end of the Second World War, the Allied occupying powers issued new food cards (also known as food cards) in their respective sectors from May 1945, which were generally classified from I to V according to the severity of the work in consumer groups (categories).

Soviet occupation zone and Greater Berlin

In the Soviet occupation zone and later GDR there was a system from June 12, 1945 that deviated from the western zones with the following categories:

  • Category I: Hard workers and officials
  • Category II: Heavy workers
  • Category III: workers
  • Category IV: employees
  • Category V: Others (children, pensioners, NSDAP members, severely disabled people, economically inactive), also called "cemetery card" (the allocation was practically "zero").

From July 1, 1945, the rule was that former members of the NSDAP did not receive any ration cards, as did “inactive” people aged 18–65 years (men) and 18–45 years (women).

From 1949 uniform additional cards were introduced, which in addition to the basic food card were issued to employees with hard and particularly hard work and to their intelligence .

The rations of bread, meat, fat, sugar, potatoes, salt , coffee beans, coffee substitutes and tea were determined according to the possibilities. The goods available for the next week were “called up” on the weekends through public notices. Seriously ill people who had a higher calorie requirement were given a “heavy labor allowance” on medical advice, which was otherwise only available to physically hard-working people.

Western zones

Coal Control Chart in the British Zone of Occupation , 1948

At the end of 1946 the planned daily ration for normal adult consumers corresponded to 1550 kilocalories. In 1948 and 1949 the quantities were gradually increased. Small children and adolescents were temporarily protected from malnutrition through school feeding , Swedish feeding and Hoover feeding .

You could only get rationed groceries in shops and restaurants if you could hand in the corresponding coupon coupons, the stamps, and pay the sum demanded by the trader. The brands were broken down by food (as shown above); For example, you could only buy bread with bread tokens, but fish with meat tokens. Therefore, food stamps were often bartered on the black market . Restaurants indicated on the menu how many brands of which type the guest had to sell for the respective dish.

Federal Republic of Germany until 1990

In the Federal Republic of Germany the ration cards were abolished in 1950. This happened in two stages. On January 22nd, the abolition of rationing, with the exception of sugar, was announced with effect from March 1st. On March 31, the Federal Cabinet under Konrad Adenauer decided to lift all remaining restrictions on May 1, 1950. As a result, food cards and stamps were no longer applicable in the federal territory. For a while, milk was still sold on cards in Berlin. There were sickness allowance cards for the sick.

German Democratic Republic until 1990

In the GDR , the food card was used until May 1958. Its abolition resulted in a change in the price and tax system that worsened for all non-dependent workers because it had also been a subsidy. The potato cards referred to as "purchase authorization - table potatoes" were not abolished until 1966. At the end of the 1960s, the coal cards were renamed from “house fire card” to “voucher for the purchase of lignite briquettes at the state-supported local basic price” without any changes in content. The additional coal requirement could be obtained at the HO price. This procedure was maintained until the end of the GDR.

At the beginning of the 1960s, a crisis in supply meant that certain foods such as butter and meat were temporarily rationed again in the GDR. You could then only get them at your place of residence upon presentation of a business-related customer ID. A transfer certificate from the local dealer had to be presented for holidays or stays abroad. This rationing was extended in 1962, finally restricted to noble meat (certain pieces of meat, such as fillet or certain offal, such as liver ) and tacitly abolished in 1967/68.

In East Berlin , before the Wall was erected , an identity card had to be presented for purchases or the use of services that were not subject to rationing , otherwise Westgeld was required.

Federal Republic of Germany 1990 - 2017

From October 4, 1968 to April 10, 2017 (since October 3, 1990 also in the area of ​​the former GDR ), the Food Management Ordinance was in effect , which was issued on the basis of the Food Security Act (one of the emergency laws). Since 1980, the districts and urban districts had been obliged to hold ration cards and to record and report the necessary data every two years.

In the acceding area, i. H. In the former GDR, it was legally introduced, but was not implemented until it expired in 2017.

The provisions were not repealed until the Act on Securing the Basic Supply of Food in a Supply Crisis and Measures to Prevent a Supply Crisis ( Food Security and Provisioning Act - ESA) came into force on April 11, 2017.

Other countries

Rationing measures were also taken in other countries during the First and Second World Wars and the post-war period. Examples:

Swiss food card April 1940


In Switzerland , basic foodstuffs were gradually rationed from 1917 onwards during the First World War.

After the beginning of the Second World War, the War Food Office was established and various foods were gradually rationed:

  • Sugar, pasta, legumes, rice, wheat and corn semolina, flour, oat and barley products, butter, edible fats, edible oils (from October 30, 1939)
  • Textiles, shoes, soap, detergents (from December 1, 1940)
  • Coffee, tea, cocoa (from May 31, 1941)
  • Cheese (from August 31, 1941)
  • Eggs and egg products (from December 3, 1941)
  • Fresh milk (from January 1, 1942: adults 0.5 l / day, children 0.7 l / day; from November 1, 1942: 10 l / month)
  • Meat (from March 1942)
  • Honey, jam, canned fruits (from May 4, 1942)
  • Chocolate (from June 1943)

The Wahlen plan enabled the degree of self-sufficiency to be increased significantly, so that potatoes, vegetables and fruit were never rationed in Switzerland during World War II. Grocery cards were abolished in Switzerland in June 1948.

Other countries

  • In France , on January 15, 1940, “cartes d'alimentation” were introduced.
  • In Austria , the management (through the "Food Management Act") was relaxed in autumn 1952.
  • In post-war Czechoslovakia , food rationing was abolished on May 31, 1953 with the currency reform.
  • In Great Britain , the last rationing from World War II was lifted on July 4, 1954.

Grocery cards were introduced in the Georgian SSR from 1980 to 1984 after the state prohibited farmers from free trade in agricultural products. Likewise, the People's Republic of Poland introduced food management in 1981 after the country's economy had de facto collapsed (see also Martial Law in Poland 1981–1983 ), and only abolished the last cards in 1989. Rationing has been in place in Cuba since 1962 .

See also


  • Angela M. Arnold, Gabriele von Griesheim: Trümmer, Bahnen und Bezirke , self-published Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-00-009839-9 .
  • Annual reports of the Berlin magistrate 1947–1950: Nutrition; Kulturbuch-Verlag Berlin 1950
  • Manfred, Wilhelmi: Kriegsnot and Kriegsbrot, On communal food supply in Trier 1914–1918 Part 1, in: Kurtrierisches Jahrbuch 48, 2008, pp. 207–299. Part 2: 1919–1923 ... , ibid. (With illustration) Trier 2010.
  • Bernd, Schlueter: State, Food Supply and War. The municipal war food industry in Bremen 1914–1918. Bremen dissertation 1998.
  • Anne, Roerkohl: Hunger Blockade and Home Front. The municipal food supply in Westphalia during the First World War (study on the history of everyday life, vol. 10) Stuttgart 1991.
  • Britta, Nikolai: The food supply in Flensburg 1914-1918. Writings of the Society for Flensburg City History eV, 39, Flensburg 1988.
  • Florian, Lorz: War food economy and food supply from the world war to today. Hanover 1938.
  • August, Skalweit: The German war food industry. Stuttgart 1927.
  • Christoph Buchheim : The myth of "well-being". The standard of living of the German civilian population in the Second World War . In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte (VfZ), Oldenbourg, 2010, issue 3; PDF

Web links

Commons : Ration stamps  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Food brand  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. RGBl. I, p. 1498
  2. Martin Psonka: Criminal proceedings against minors in the Third Reich using the example of the special court in Dortmund TU Dortmund, Univ.-Diss. 2019, p. 100 ff.
  3. Michael Wildt: The dream of getting full. Hamburg 1986, ISBN 3-87975-379-2 , pp. 15-17.
  4. Christoph Buchheim: The myth of 'well-being'. The standard of living of the German civilian population in the Second World War. In: VfZ 58 (2010), no. 3, p. 307.
  5. Michael Wildt: The dream of getting full. Hamburg 1986, ISBN 3-87975-379-2 , p. 17.
  6. Reports from the Reich ed. by Heinz Boberach, Herrsching 1984, ISBN 3-88199-158-1 , Vol. 9, p. 3505.
  7. Wolfgang Schneider (Ed.) Daily Life under Hitler , 2000 Rowohlt Berlin, p. 186; ISBN 3 87134 404 4 / Complete table from Christoph Buchheim: The myth of “well-being” - the standard of living of the German civilian population in World War II. In: Vierteljahrsheft für Zeitgeschichte 58 (2010) H. 3, p. 307.
  8. Wolfgang Schneider (Ed.) Daily Life under Hitler , Rowohlt, Berlin 2000, ISBN 3 87134 404 4 ; in detail from Christoph Buchheim: The myth of "well-being" - the standard of living of the German civilian population in World War II. In: Vierteljahrsheft für Zeitgeschichte 58 (2010) H. 3.
  9. Eberhard Wühle: food cards in the mirror of their political events. In: December 29, 2006, archived from the original on June 22, 2016 ; Retrieved on September 10, 2016 (summary of the lecture on the topic: "Rationing documents" at the collectors' meeting of the German Banknote and Securities Collectors eV (DGW) in Zeuthen on December 9, 2006).
  10. Food Ordinance of November 3, 1949 , accessed on June 22, 2016
  11. Carsten Stern: Sweden feed and Red Cross in Hamburg. Neumünster 2008, ISBN 978-3-529-05231-6 , p. 16 - Today the daily requirement is 2800 kcal.
  12. Finding aids info. Federal Archives, archived from the original on September 27, 2007 ; accessed on September 10, 2016 .
  13. March 31, 1950 End of food rationing
  14. Marius Bochniak: Catalog of domestic fuel cards DDR 1950-1990 . In: International Journal of Rationing . tape 1 , no. 2 , 2009, ZDB -ID 2568806-6 .
  15. Alexander Lorenz: Coal trading boss reports of hard work and great celebrations. In: Thuringian General. September 25, 2010, accessed September 10, 2016 .
  16. ^ Ulrich Mählert: Brief history of the GDR. CHBeck 2010, ISBN 978-3-406-59464-9 , p. 103.
  17. ^ Magdeburg University Archives
  18. For information on obligations and procedures, see the General Administrative Regulation for the Food Management Ordinance (EBewiVwV) of February 1, 1979 , accessed on June 5, 2017.
  19. Text of the ESA , accessed on 20 November 2019
  20. Manuel Bühlmann: Only those who could show brands received sugar, bread and oat flakes. In: . July 21, 2014, accessed January 23, 2020 .
  21. Tina Fassbind: When you paid with fat cards in Zurich. In: . January 11, 2017, accessed January 23, 2020 .
  22. Switzerland in World War II
  23. Food Management Act 1952, Federal Law Gazette No. 183/1952