‘We can hardly believe what Jan, Mr. Kugler and Mr. Kleiman tell us about the prices and the people on the outside; half a pound of tea costs 350.00 guilders, half a pound of coffee 80.00 guilders, a pound of butter 35.00 guilders, one egg 1.45 guilders. People are paying 14.00 guilders an ounce for Bulgarian tobacco! Everyone's trading on the black market; every errand boy has something to offer. The delivery boy from the bakery has supplied us with darning thread, the milkman can get hold of ration books, an undertaker delivers cheese.’ - Anne Frank, 6 May 1944

Everything is rationed

Coupons, books and other objects
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Provisions are scarce during the war.  The helpers organize coupons for those in hiding and shop for groceries.

Money and coupons

Provisions are scarce during the war. So everything is rationed.

Food coupons are collected from a distribution centre. A registration card must be shown.

To buy groceries, not only coupons are necessary, money is too. It’s a bureaucratic, complicated system which is often fiddled.

People with money but no coupons can’t buy anything through the normal channels. But you can buy things on the black market with only money.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black market and bartering

For the whole period in hiding the Frank family and Fritz Pfeffer still have their distribution registration cards. They can obtain coupons with these, which the helpers collect. The Van Pels family no longer have registration cards.

It’s difficult to acquire enough coupons and food for those in hiding.  The helpers are dependent on the black market in coupons and provisions. Sometimes they can also obtain coupons via underground organizations that help people in hiding. To make ends meet they have to sell Van Pels family possessions. 

Shopping for groceries is also risky, as why would one person need so many groceries? So the helpers have to be very careful whom they buy from.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A lady clips coupons in a shop. © NIOD
Coupons for butter and other provisions.
Jan and Miep Gies’s distribution registration cards. Through his contacts Jan is able to get hold of illicit coupons.
People queue for potatoes. © NIOD
The building in the middle, no. 58 Leliegracht, is Greengrocer Van Hoeve’s. He supplies potatoes and vegetables to those hiding at no. 263 Prinsengracht.
People collect their coupons from a distribution centre in Amsterdam. © NIOD
Black market traders offer their wares on the street. © Cas Oorthuys/Nederlands Fotomuseum

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The helpers organize coupons for those in hiding and shop for groceries 

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