Cigarettes from Home-Grown Tobacco
From the collection of the Achterhoeks Museum 1940-1945, Hengelo
Varied dimensions, 1942-1945
There was a huge shortage of tobacco during the war years due to the compulsory delivery of a large part of the tobacco stock to Germany and the loss of supply lines from abroad.
In May 1942, tobacco was rationed: in addition to money people also needed distribution coupons to buy cigars or cigarettes. Anybody over the age of 18 could choose between a ‘smoker’s card’ or a ‘refreshment card’. Especially in the last years of the war, people were prepared to pay huge amounts on the Black Market for cigars and cigarettes. Many Dutch people tried their hand at growing their own tobacco, which the factories that were still in business then made into so-called amateur tobacco and amateur cigarettes. Even if it didn’t taste like the real thing, it was better than nothing.
In early 1944, the Persoonsbewijzencentrale (PBC, Central Office for Identity Cards) – a Dutch Resistance group specialized in making fake identity cards – also produced 16,000 fake ration coupons for tobacco. The tension of war made smoking a necessity for many people.