Counting Calories

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Counting Calories

Post by David Thompson » 18 May 2008 02:20

Here are some caloric figures collected from various H&WC section posts. They only include claims contained in primary sources, or where a secondary source was given by the poster. Official ration figures could be augmented by home-grown vegetables, barter and black-market purchases, where this was possible:

caloric needs of a soldier in combat = 3,000-4,000 calories/day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 382#p96382

1914 UK = 3,442 calories/day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 37#p349937
1917 – adequate for adult male = 2,800-3,500 calories/day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 37#p349937
summer 1917 Germany – 1,000 calories/day; demand = 2,280
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?p=931#p931
Sept 1917 – Belgium = 1,500 calories/day for employed; 1,387 for unemployed
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 37#p349937

1918 Germany – Civilian rations = 1,200 calories/day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 36#p311636

1940 Poland (ration averages) –- Poles = 737 calories/day; Jews = 413
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 19#p754419
1940 Poland – 500 calories/day for civilians; hospitals = 1,000-1,400 calories/day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 76#p754376
Sept 1940 France – Civilian ration = 1,800 calories/day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 0#p1212230

1941 Japan – 2,000 calories/day (US Strategic Bombing Survey estimate)
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 901#p79901
1941 – normal requirement for a human being (German estimate) = 2,200 calories/day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 87#p493187
1941 Germany – Civilian rations = 2,400 calories/day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 36#p311636
1941 Poland – 600 calories/day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 87#p493187
1941 Poland (ration averages) – Poles = 669 calories/day; Jews = 253
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 19#p754419
1941 Poland – Germans = 2,613 calories/day; Poles = 699; Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, mentally ill persons = 184
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 76#p754376
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 77#p788777
1941 US – 3,400 calories/day (US Strategic Bombing Survey estimate)
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 41#p602941
summer 1941 – German eastern front camps for Soviet POWs – authorized rations = 2,100 calories/ day for workers; 1,500 calories/day for non-working POWs
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 316#p77316
summer 1941 – German eastern front camps for Soviet POWs (Army Group Center) – actual rations = 300-700 calories/day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 798#p79798
summer 1941 – German eastern front camp for Soviet POWs at Mogilev (Army Group Center) – actual rations = 1,400 calories/day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 814#p79814
Aug 1941 – German camps for Soviet POWs (Reserve Army) – authorized rations = 2,040 calories/day for non-workers; 2,200 calories/day for working POWs
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 008#p91008
winter 1941 – German eastern front camps for Soviet POWs – authorized rations = 1,490 calories/day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 008#p91008

1942 France – Civilian ration = 1,700 calories/day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 0#p1212230
Sept 1942 – German soldiers at Stalingrad = 1,800 calories/day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 382#p96382

1943 Germany – Civilian rations = 2,200 calories/day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 36#p311636

1944 France – Civilian rations = 900-1,200 calories/day; 1,300-1,380 for heavy workers; elderly = 850 calories/day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 0#p1212230
1944 Japan – 1,900 calories/day (US Strategic Bombing Survey estimate)
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 41#p602941

1945 Germany – Nazi Civilian rations = 2,000 calories/day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 36#p311636
April 1945 – Netherlands = 400 calories/day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 61#p767461
spring 1945 KL Buchenwald – 600-700 calories/day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 29#p143329
spring 1945 KL Belsen – Prisoner calories reduced from 1,000 to 600/ day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 850#p28850
spring 1945 KL Dora – 1,100 calories/day for workers
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 76#p568976
Apr-May 1945 – US POW camps for Germans around Bretzenheim = 600-850 calories/day (Bacque claim)
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 27#p112327
1945 POW entitlement (US-run camps) = 2,900 calories/day for workers; 2,000 for non-workers
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 70#p395770
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 35#p717035
Jul 1945 – 100 million Europeans living on 1,500 calories/day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 99#p495899
Jul 1945 Japan – 1,680 calories/day (US Strategic Bombing Survey estimate)
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 41#p602941
Sept 1945 – Germany – civilian and POW ration (official) = 1,550 calories/day; but running short
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 84#p433584
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 843#p86843
Oct 1945 –POWs delivered to France = 1,006 calories/day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 54#p433254
1945 Paris – civilian food ration = 1,550 calories/day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 84#p433584
1945-1946 – German civilians (US Zone) = 1,500 calories/day, lowered to 1,250 calories/day; suspected war criminals and internees = 1,700 calories/day; workers in internment camps = 2,400 calories/day; hospital ration = 2,300-3,000 calories/day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 78#p628078
winter 1945-1946 – German civilians = barely above 1,200 calories/day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 09#p717809

WWII – German workers engaged in heavy labor = 5,000 calories/day; eastern workers with similar employment = 2,000 calories/day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 82#p128182
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 31#p576031
WWII – Nazi corrective labor camps – authorized rations = 3,500-4,000 calories/day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 97#p132097

1954 – Viet Minh camps for French POWs = 1,000 calories/day
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 19#p298119

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Ranke
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Re: Counting Calories

Post by Ranke » 18 May 2008 06:04

Interesting figures.
A few observations.
1) It seems clear that the Germans waged campaigns of starvation against the civilian populations, especially the Jews but Poles and POWs too. I'm sure that there are statistics about starvation deaths in the ghettos - perhaps Browning? - and a great deal written about caloric intake in the camps.
2) Didn't German policies in the east lead to wholesale destruction of the food supply?
3) A very interesting contrast between German caloric intake during the First World War and during the Second World War. Wasn't one of Tim Mason's arguments that Hitler, believing that the German homefront had been starved to the point of collapse during WWI, was determined not to see the same thing happen in WWII. Hence, guns AND butter. Doesn't Mason also see this as creating economic problems, hence the timing of the war in 1939? Apologies for the questions - it has been a long time since I read Mason.

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Re: Counting Calories

Post by Jon G. » 18 May 2008 08:17

Excellent collection of links. Thanks for posting it.

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sallyg
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Re: Counting Calories

Post by sallyg » 18 May 2008 20:27

Thank you for this, David.

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Re: Counting Calories

Post by DAlpha » 19 May 2008 01:10

Excellent post. I can definitely use some of this information when my students study WWII next semester.

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Re: Counting Calories

Post by michael mills » 19 May 2008 03:48

1) It seems clear that the Germans waged campaigns of starvation against the civilian populations, especially the Jews but Poles and POWs too. I'm sure that there are statistics about starvation deaths in the ghettos - perhaps Browning?
Statistics of official rations issued do not tell the whole story about the food sources available to civilain populations, particularly in Poland. The thriving black market provided an alternative source of food supplies, albeit at high cost, that preserved civilian populations from starvation. Since the majority of Jewish residential areas in occupied Poland were not hermetically sealed off, even the Jewish population had access to the black market, a fact much bewailed by the German administration.

In addition, occupied Poland was the recipient of considerable quantities of food aid from the United States, donated by private organisations, including one headed by Herbert Hoover. The food aid entered Poland by agreement between the donor organisations and the German occupation administration, which authorised two charitable organisations in Poland to receive and distribute it, a Polish one called Rada Glowna Opiekuncza, and a Jewish one called Jüdische Soziale Selbsthilfe. Both these organisations were legal and recognised by the German authorities; they were not resistance organisations operating underground, as is sometimes mistakenly claimed.

By agreement between the US donor organisations and the German authorities in occupied Poland, 14% of the food aid was to go to the Jewish population, ie almost double the proportion which Jews represented of the total population of occupied Poland, no doubt in recognition of the fact that, as a primarily urban population, they did not have access to self-grown food. The food aid distributed by the Jüdische Soziale Selbsthilfe supplemented the meagre official rations supplied by the German authorities, and helped the bulk of the Jewish population to survive until 1942.

Photos taken in the Warsaw Ghetto in the summer of 1941, at a time when the food aid from the United States was still being received, show a generally well-fed population, with few signs of malnutrition, apart from a few beggars. The reason why some of the ghetto inhabitants did suffer starvation, and why there was an elevated death rate from malnutrition, was that the available food supplies were not equitably distributed by the Ghetto administration; while beggar children starved, more privileged parts of the population, including those with illegal incomes, eg smugglers and black marketeers, were able to live it up at high-class restaurants and night clubs.

The head of the Jüdische Soziale Selbsthilfe, Michal Weichert, survived the war, and was later accused of collaboration because of his close connections with the German authorities in the course of his work. To clear his name, he wrote four volumes of memoirs, which serve as a vital source of information for the food and medical aid received from US donor organisations, including the Joint Distribution Committee.

The British Government was incensed about the food aid being provided to Poland since it undermined the effectiveness of the British blockade; every unit of food sent to Poland represented a unit that the German Government did not have to provide, and which could be retained in Germany to feed the civilian population there and thereby prevent the collapse of the Home Front which the British were hoping for, similar to that which occurred in 1918. Representations were made to the US Government to prevent private organisations in the United States from sending food aid to German-occupied Europe, but they were not acted on.

The situation changed at the end of 1941, when the United States entered the war against Germany. At that point the United States joined the blockade, and cut off all food aid to the German-controlled territory. It is probably no accident that the physical destruction of the Jewish population of occupied Poland commenced soon after the cessation of food aid from the United States; the elimination of Jewish consumers led to an appreciable reduction in the demand for food in occupied Poland and allowed the ethnic Polish population to be fed, albeit at a bare subsistence level.

Details of the food aid provided to Jews in occupied Poland can be found in this book by Yehuda Bauer:

"American Jewry and the Holocaust : the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, 1939-1945", (Jerusalem : The Institute of Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University ; Detroit : Wayne State University Press, 1981).

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Ranke
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Re: Counting Calories

Post by Ranke » 19 May 2008 23:07

No doubt official statistics do not tell the whole story. However, you seem to exaggerate greatly black market activity and other forms of assistance.
If we follow Browning's discussion of the controversies about the "productionists" and "attritionists" it becomes clear that while policy in the ghettos was not specifically designed to commit genocide through starvation, the eventual victory of the productionists was based on providing minimum sustenance to ensure continued economic production at no extra cost to Germany. Even then Browning emphasizes that the purpose of the ghettos was never to become efficient production centres; rather they were always a temporary measure - in his words a warehouse until a final solution was devised. In Lodz, "the ghettoized Jews continued to starve, albeit more slowly than the attritionists had wished" (47).
Starvation rates in the ghettos were appalling. In Warsaw, the "death rate had risen above 1,000 in the month of February, above 2,000 in April, and then nearly doubled to 3,800 in May 1941" (47) Saul Friedländer writes that in August 1941 the toll from starvation in Warsaw was 5,560, after which things stabilized. According to Browning "Raul Hilberg has estimated that over 500,000 Polish Jews died in the ghettos due to the terrible conditions under which they lived. They constituted nearly 10 percent of all the victims of the Holocaust" (52).

Friedländer writes: "Outside help, massively provided by the Joint Distribution Committee (or JDC) allowed for the internal organization of welfare on a significant scale. Thus the "Jewish Social Self-Help" - Jüdische Soziale Selbsthilfe, or JSS - started coordinating the efforts of previously independent Jewish welfare agencies throughout Poland. ... in its very first year of activity it helped some 160,000 people in Warsaw along by distributing food and other basic necessities" (148).

This aide was certainly important, but it did not stop the starvation, as the figures above illustrate.

Friedländer continues: "Of course the ghetto's[Warsaw's] 'new class' [which benefited from the black market] represented just a minute segment of the population. The majority went hungry, despite smuggling, self-help, House Committees, and packages which - until June 1941 - mostly arrived from the Soviet Union or Soviet-occupied Poland....Starvation spread, mainly among refugees from the provinces. The number of deaths from starvation and disease between the closing of the ghetto in November 1940 and the beginning of the deportations in July 1942 may have been as high as 100,000" (149-150)

When all is said and done, however, your arguments seem to be driven by the desire to shift blame and responsibility away from the Nazis, and in this case onto the Jews themselves and then, rather bizarrely, onto the Americans.

Your write:
Photos taken in the Warsaw Ghetto in the summer of 1941, at a time when the food aid from the United States was still being received, show a generally well-fed population, with few signs of malnutrition, apart from a few beggars. The reason why some of the ghetto inhabitants did suffer starvation, and why there was an elevated death rate from malnutrition, was that the available food supplies were not equitably distributed by the Ghetto administration; while beggar children starved, more privileged parts of the population, including those with illegal incomes, eg smugglers and black marketeers, were able to live it up at high-class restaurants and night clubs.
In the summer of 1941 the death rates from starvation were in the thousands per month, despite food aid. I'm sure photos showing a generally well-fed population do not tell the whole story. To blame the mass starvation on inequitable distribution by the ghetto administration is to ignore the fact that the Jewish population was never given sufficient food to begin with and to ignore completely the Germans who controlled all aspects of ghetto life.

You write:
he situation changed at the end of 1941, when the United States entered the war against Germany. At that point the United States joined the blockade, and cut off all food aid to the German-controlled territory. It is probably no accident that the physical destruction of the Jewish population of occupied Poland commenced soon after the cessation of food aid from the United States; the elimination of Jewish consumers led to an appreciable reduction in the demand for food in occupied Poland and allowed the ethnic Polish population to be fed, albeit at a bare subsistence level.
Well, this is certainly a novel interpretation. Indeed, the entire paragraph is so offensive that I am practically speechless. Polish Jews were starving to death in the tens of thousands well before December 1941 when the US entered the war and US aid came to an end. Furthermore, as Browning argues, the decision to physically destroy Polish Jewry had been made by October 1941, when construction of Chelmno and Belzec began.
The beginning of extermination had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE CESSATION OF FOOD AID FROM THE UNITED STATES. This is just a complete travesty.
--"Jewish consumers"???!!!
--The annihilation of the Jews did not allow the ethnic Polish population to be fed. Poles already received more food than Jews and there is no evidence that the food allocated to the Jews went to the Poles after the Jews were killed.


Finally, German starvation campaigns were not restricted to Jews. While there are other studies that deal specifically with this (I don't have access to them at the moment), Friedländer, whose book has won the Pulitzer, seems reliable enough:
"a fourth agency would come to play an essential role in the intricate and increasingly chaotic system established to dominate the conquered territories [of the east]: Economic Staff East. ... the Economic Staff East was de facto headed by Gen. Georg Thomas, chief of the Wehrwirtschafts-und Rüstungsamt, whose function would be the seizure and exploitation of Soviet war industries and raw materials. Strongly supported by Hitler, whose own strategic conception did put particular emphasis on the control of economic resources, Thomas planned his economic exploitation and looting campaign in cooperation with QM General Wagner and State Secretary Herbert Backe.... It was Backe who added the final touch to economic planning of Barbarossa: the 'hunger plans'." ... These plans envisioned the possibility of starving the urban population of the Western Soviet Union and the Ukraine, including first and foremost the Jews. ... The mass starvation idea was also leisurely discussed among Himmler and his top lieutenants ..." Friedlander 137-138)

Sources:
Browning, The Path to Genocide, CUP, 1992.
Friedlander, Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Extermination, 2007

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Re: Counting Calories

Post by David Thompson » 20 May 2008 02:43

David Low cartoon, from the London Evening Standard, 28 Jun 1940:
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Re: Counting Calories

Post by phylo_roadking » 25 May 2008 02:19

Actually, IIRC there was a suprisingly GOOD harvest in the Ukraine in 1942 - but the German officials responsible for shifting it out to the rest of occupied Russia couldn't secure enough rail carrying capacity from the military to move it to the larger cities, and it rotted where it was.

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Re: Counting Calories

Post by Jon G. » 26 May 2008 01:38

Phylo, do you have any numbers for the 1942 Ukrainian harvest relative to earlier and later years? Soviet harvest figures are conspicuously absent in LoN statistics. It would be interesting to see harvest figures for this area.

I don't think that any part of the 1942 Ukrainian harvest was earmarked for Ukrainian cities and towns in accordance with the Generalplan Ost - instead, Ukrainian agricultural produce (particularly oil seeds and grain) was sent back west. Hans Potgiesser briefly touches the subject in Die deutsche Reichsbahn im Ostfeldzug but doesn't give any numbers in his otherwise very number-heavy book.

The German railroads in the east were administered and run by the Reichsbahn and various Ostbahn subsidiaries, not by the Wehrmacht.

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Re: Counting Calories

Post by David Thompson » 26 May 2008 02:28

For the Nazi plan to create an artificial famine in the USSR by plunder, see the exchanges in the "Life in Occupied Russia" thread beginning at
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 968#589968

See also, generally:

Nazi occupation policies for the USSR
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=61454
Hitler's plans for Ostland -- Fuehrer Conference 16 Jul 1941
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=60772
Generalplan Ost
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=20050
German Plans to Seize Food from the Soviet Union
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=11976

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Re: Counting Calories

Post by David Thompson » 30 Sep 2008 21:36


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