Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Anne Hirschle - July 21, 2006

Rationing During War

Was there rationing in England?

Oh, there was tremendous rationing. Everything was rationed. Clothes were rationed, food was rationed. That's why when I went to take my grandmothers I had to make sure that they, they got their ration books at the local grocery store and uh, everything was short, but you know what? In a way I think growing up during those days was easier than it is for kids now because we all worked for a common purpose. We knew exactly where we stood, what we wanted to achieve, and everybody around you was in the same boat. And there was-I remember some terrible bombings. There was no looting; there was no, no worry about that. Uh, and your, your options-you didn't have the options that kids have now. Everything was black and white.


It-I often say to people, I think it's harder for kids to grow up now because they have so many options and their role models are not as black and white as our role models were. Our, our, our role models were absolutely black and white, good or bad, you know, and there was nothing in between.

Who were your role models?

My role models?

Just growing up in England during the war.

During the war, my parents, above all. My parents and their friends, really. Um, uh, right and wrong seemed very clear cut. I do remember one instance where my sister, who was very outspoken, was sitting at table and mortified my parents because some people came to visit and we were talking about-you'd asked about rationing...


...and uh, these people said-oh my father said, "Oh, I got some good chocolate on our sweet ration this, this month." And these people said, "Well, did you give up your coupons for that?" And my father said, "Of course." And these people said, "Well that's not clever. You give up your coupons, anybody can do that, but we got some chocolate that was not-we did not have to give our coupons for that." To which my sister got up from table and said, "That's not clever, that's black market."

Yeah, that's illegal.

And marched out of the room. My parents kept-my father was mortified but she was right.


So yes, everything was rationed, everything was short. In fact, it was short over there for quite a few years after the war.


Quite a few years. Uh, when I came here-I came to this country in '48. I got married in '48, I came in '49-I followed my husband in '49-and uh, things were still very short in England. And I remember a friend meeting me in New York and uh, we were going shopping and I remember she said-we just wanted to fix ourselves some lunch-and she said to the person in the store, "Do you sell eggs singly?" and I thought, "Well how else would you buy eggs?" But she, being in the States only thought you could buy a carton of a dozen eggs, you know, and I was still used to-yes, everything was still very short, yes.

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