National Geographic : 1949 May
604 Fenno Jacobs from Black Star Long Search Sometimes Unearths Needed Goods, but Few Can Afford Blockade Prices In an open-air shop in Halensee, residential sub urb in Berlin's British Zone, householders care fully examine a display of hard-to-get hardware. Articles marked "Made in Germany" are on the move to the world's markets again, but seldom do they reach Berlin. Buyers for New York depart ment stores order toys, leather handbags, glassware, gloves, clocks, and tools. There are bicycle lamps for Singapore, machetes for Cuba, special saws for the Orient, and textiles for France. But Berlin does without, because of the Russian blockade. Though its effect in Berlin is limited, Military Government's new currency has rejuvenated the economy of Western Germany. The new mark, worth 30 United States cents, is for use only in Germany. No German is allowed to possess any foreign money. Since German exporters cannot collect personally for their goods, this is done for them by the Joint Export-Import Agency. Until "reform" currency appeared in June, 1948, merchants hoarded goods and farmers bartered on the black market rather than sell for the old Reichs marks, worth so little that a workman's monthly wage would not buy a carton of American cigarettes. But when the new money came, long-hidden goods appeared as if by magic.