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The Tausch-centers of the 1940s: closed markets as an alternative to the black economy

Rolf F.H. Schroeder (Independent Researcher, Bremen, Germany)

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing

ISSN: 1755-750X

Article publication date: 17 August 2015




The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the Tausch- or barter-centers that existed in Germany during the 1940s. These small but unique platforms for the exchange of consumer durables represent an almost unknown chapter in economic history. This contribution aims to describe the major characteristics of these organizations and to investigate the implications of these findings for community currencies in general.


An analysis is conducted of primary sources, which bring to light different types of these alternative markets. This is complemented by a comprehensive study of secondary sources.


Theoretically, these exchange systems are interpreted as operating within boundaries. The results of this research project are not only relevant for our understanding of the war and post-war economy in Germany, at a time when the market mechanism was suppressed, this peculiar case also sheds some light on the functioning of markets. Furthermore, a better knowledge of the structure of the Tausch- or barter-centers is relevant with regard to our understanding of the functioning of community currencies in general.


This paper provides the first survey of these organizations.



The author thanks the JHRM Editor and reviewers, the reviewers and participants from the 2013 Conference on Historical Analysis and Research in Marketing (CHARM), who read an earlier version of this paper.


Schroeder, R.F.H. (2015), "The Tausch-centers of the 1940s: closed markets as an alternative to the black economy", Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 330-355.



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