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Old 06-20-2009, 05:37 PM
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Where did the Germans get their tobacco from in WW2? Where did the Germans get their tobacco from in WW2? Where did the Germans get their tobacco from in WW2? Where did the Germans get their tobacco from in WW2? Where did the Germans get their tobacco from in WW2?  
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Default Where did the Germans get their tobacco from in WW2?

For no particular reason, I was wondering about this the other day while watching some program or another on the war. Cigarette factory remained active in Germany during the war, and contemporary magazine ads during the war featured ads for tobacco products. Thus I was curious, where was this tobacco grown? Obviously it wasn't being imported. The area around Sarajevo in the Balkans used to have great tobacco (before the unpleasantness in the 90s), but would Balkan tobacco have sufficed to supply all of the continent during the war?
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Old 06-20-2009, 06:12 PM
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Old 06-20-2009, 06:53 PM
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Interesting question. Russia, Turkey, until the war turned against the Germans? Pre-war stocks that finally ran out? I've read tobacco was in short supply after 1942.

Herman Goering had his own brand of cigars iirc. http://snyderstreasures.com/images/g...rBoxLargeO.jpg

I was surprised to read Hitler and other Nazis were against tobacco use.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-to...n_Nazi_Germany

Smoke Nazis

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Old 06-20-2009, 09:55 PM
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Toward the end of the war, the Germans had "ersatz" tobacco, coffee, and a few other things. The foodstuffs tasted like ****, so I've been told. Joe
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Old 06-20-2009, 10:54 PM
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I thumbed through a couple of my books and it looks like Turkish, Egyptian (early) mostly through Italy. 4 examples were shown, one German and 3 Italian, 3 Turkish and 1 Egyptian. According to the credits, they were all picked up in North Africa. Don't know how they did it in Europe proper, but they still had access to the outside world through Vichy France until late '43. Best I could do.
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Old 06-20-2009, 11:33 PM
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I believe in Donald Burgetts book, The Road to Arnhem: A Screaming Eagle in Holland he details a fight in a tobacco field. I suppose at that time Germans could have been smoking Dutch tobacco or growing their own. If you haven't read Don's books I strongly recommend you buy all of them.

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Old 06-20-2009, 11:41 PM
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Col. Hans Von Luck in his book "Panzer Commander" tells a story of capturing a British officer in Libya who was an heir to a tobacco company. The officer negotiated his release by promising a large amount of English cigarettes. The Germans were thrilled, they would have enough surplus that they would be able to trade for an array of other supplies that they badly needed. The only problem was that they did not have enough transport for the mountain of cigarettes offered. They then asked for a smaller amount. The British officer took offense that his release was brokered at such a paltry amount and he then refused to cooperate. The Germans were dismayed to have to send him to a German POW camp without a single smoke.

This was during a period of the war that Von Luck considered the last civilized war and it was largely between the desert recon units. They considered the enemy the desert and not
nations.

Great book.
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Old 06-20-2009, 11:46 PM
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... The British officer took offense that his release was brokered at such a paltry amount and he then refused to cooperate. The Germans were dismayed to have to send him to a German POW camp without a single smoke...
How very British of him
Ta ta, then.
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Old 06-20-2009, 11:51 PM
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Read a book years ago about Albert Speer, among other things head of Nazi armaments,
who stockpiled before the war his favorite cigaret, Camels, and his favorite Scotch, White Horse.

I suspect other high up Nazi officials did something similar.
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Old 06-21-2009, 12:32 AM
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Thanks for the responses. I'd read Burgett's books, but had forgotten about a tobacco field in Holland. The Dutch cigarettes that I used to smoke - hand rolling tobacco actually - had tobacco that came from Java - then the Dutch East Indies. It hadn't occurred to me that tobacco was grown in Holland.

I do remember in one of Burgett's books, or perhaps it was another account, that wartime British cigarettes weren't very good and seemed to contain straw.

In one of the German cities that ended up surrounded by the Russians and putting up a fight, the battle was covered in WW2 magazine. I forget which city, but it was notable for the local Gauleiter (Nazi party leader) who in charge of the defense actually doing a competent job and a resulting Alamo like fight against the Red Army. The article mentioned that the city's cigarette factory continued in operation throughout the battle, turning out what amounted to a half pack a day per defender.

I suppose that the Swedes could have also imported and resold tobacco products, as they did with ball bearings, iron ore, etc. in a now almost forgotten but a the time quite lucrative trade.
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Old 06-21-2009, 05:16 AM
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I suppose that the Swedes could have also imported and resold tobacco products, as they did with ball bearings, iron ore, etc. in a now almost forgotten but a the time quite lucrative trade.
The Swedish goverment did alot of things during the war that makes me ashamed to be Swedish.
That said it did not reflect the comon thought of swedes in general though.
Many went overseas (many thousands) to fight for the allies :-) and some (hundreds) for Adolf :-(

To keep out of the war they had to make concessions to Adolf,
so tobacco would most likely found its way to germany via sweden :-(

But then again a'm born 1960 so i'm not to blame :-)
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Old 06-21-2009, 09:04 AM
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Looks like Turkish/Oriental tobacco was also grown in Greece and Bulgaria, might have been available from those countries.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_tobacco
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Old 06-21-2009, 09:09 AM
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....if the movies are to be believed, there was some unknown degree of POW-Red Cross supplied tobacco traded for various advantages....I've always wondered just how much this amounted to, over the POW population.
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Old 06-21-2009, 11:02 AM
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The tobacco was produced from fields right beside the Rhine river and some parts in Bavaria.
Today this is rather limited, but there are still tobaco "fields" as well as plenty of hops for the beer ....
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Old 06-21-2009, 01:04 PM
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This might be of interest, a pack of 10 menthol cigerettes. I don't know if they are early or later war years, , the tax seal is swatzstika marked. Can't find my magnifying glass, but looks like "Turkischen Provenienzen" appears.
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Old 06-21-2009, 05:22 PM
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I recall reading in Von Luck's book of the time he was in a restaraunt and was approached by an elegantly dressed lady who asked him if she have the scraps abd stubs of his cigarettes, he said yes, and she produced a rather sophisticated silver container and a matching scoop-she explained that was one the few pleasures available to her. The German
military got the best of everything in WWII, the Home Front got what was left. They came up with all sorts of strange and often unpleasant substutes-"ersatz". Chicory was a frequent substitute for coffee, and I'm sure they confiscated all available stock of Russian
"makhorka" tobacco. The nicotine fiends I have known who have tried say, French Gaulois brand cigarettes said they were pretty vile.
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Old 06-21-2009, 05:52 PM
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I don't know about their tobacco but I do like the "Hops" from Germany.
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Old 06-21-2009, 06:14 PM
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I do remember in one of Burgett's books, or perhaps it was another account, that wartime British cigarettes weren't very good and seemed to contain straw.

My late Father-in-law, who served in the Wehrmacht during WW-II once told me that it was very common on the the Eastern front to mix the tobacco with horse hair. Evidently, the horse hair would stick out of the cigarette paper and prick your fingertips, hence the way that Germans would pinch their cigarettes between their thumb and index fingers to minimize the contact surface areas while smoking.

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Old 06-21-2009, 06:50 PM
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I had a customer who was from East Germany and has escaped in the mid 1960's. I asked her how she crossed and her answer was, "cigarettes". She had hoarded smokes for years mostly one at a time from visitors and would carefully repackage them. When she had about
75 packs she sewed them into a raincoat and approached a East German border guard who waved her away. One year later and about 25 packs more she tried again. This time the guard told her to drop the coat and he turned his back just long enough for the woman to scamper over the barrier.
She tells her grandchildren that they owe their lives to cigarettes.
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Old 06-21-2009, 07:19 PM
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Care to guess how long it'll be before R.J. Reynolds starts selling Tobacco seeds?
After all, the "ATF" does have "tobacco" in it's job description! I can see it now, getting your door booted @ 02:00 HRS over your home grown Camels! Stranger thing have already happened I'd submit? Anyone care to guess the profit margin possible on home grown?
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Old 06-21-2009, 08:15 PM
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Quote:
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....if the movies are to be believed, there was some unknown degree of POW-Red Cross supplied tobacco traded for various advantages....I've always wondered just how much this amounted to, over the POW population.
One of my Uncles was captured late in the Battle of the Bulge. One of the few things he mentioned about that experience was that while they were being marched from the front lines, somehow the Red Cross managed to catch up with them several times. He said the German housewives would stand on the corner and trade loaves of bread for the chocolate bars in the parcels. Said the bread contained a large amount of saw dust and tasted terrible, but according to him the Red Cross packages and the stuff they could trade were what kept them alive.

He said he never actually got to a camp. The Allies were advancing so fast that the prisoners were almost constantly on the move. At the end he felt the Officers were getting ready to have the guards shoot the prisoners because they didn't want to be captured with US POWs in their possession. A pair of P51's spotted them and communicated the location to an Armored unit. The P51's circled the group until the the tanks arrived to make sure nothing happened.

He mentioned that the enlisted guards seemed relieved to be out of the war, once they realized they themselves were not going to be executed by the rescuing tankers. He closed that story by saying" I will not talk about what happened to those officers we thought wanted to kill us".

So, long waste of band width to say that I personally think the Red Cross tried to fulfill their mission in at least some cases.
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Old 06-22-2009, 12:14 AM
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That's interesting, I didn't know that there were menthol cigarettes as far back as WW2. I'd always thought that they were a modern invention.

People do strange things when their tobacco supply is cut off. The siege of Sarajevo was comparitively recent and took place amongst a literate population, thus various interesting accounts emerged. I remember that some people were using bags of tobacco dust, formerly used as fertilizer, to smoke. Others were drying various herbs, weeds, etc. (There's a rumor that one can get a buzz by drying Chia from the ubiquitous unwanted Christmas presents and smoking it, FWIW.) The hot ticket item to obtain was a pipe, since that way you didn't have to sacrifice much needed toilet tissue for rolling papers.

My maternal grandfather served in the Pacific and smoked a pipe even then. He'd tear down cigarettes from the rations to get tobacco. As late as when I was a boy, one could still get free packs of cigarettes by sending in coupons from magazines, so he'd do this, then set me down with a jack knife to help cut up the cigarettes and salvage the tobacco.

Some of the photos from the Eastern Front I've seen show German troops with pipes (France, then neutral Ireland, and the Czechs, as well as the Dutch long made excellent pipes). I suppose potent Russian tobacco if available may have been more palatable that way, though I hadn't realized that tobacco grew (and was still grown) in Germany.

In the United States, one can still grow their own tobacco if they wish, for now anyway. The ATF only becomes involved if one sells it. (You still can't distill your own whiskey though, but that's another story.) Many gardening catalogs sell ornamental varieties of tobacco. I remember growing it on the edges of the garden as a kid. I think it was supposed to also keep rabbits away or some such, but who knows.


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The Swedish goverment did alot of things during the war that makes me ashamed to be Swedish.
That said it did not reflect the comon thought of swedes in general though.
Many went overseas (many thousands) to fight for the allies :-) and some (hundreds) for Adolf :-(

To keep out of the war they had to make concessions to Adolf,
so tobacco would most likely found its way to germany via sweden :-(

But then again a'm born 1960 so i'm not to blame :-)
Don't feel too bad. Prescott Bush (ancestor of both Presidents) was investigated by Congress for dealing with the Nazis. Meanwhile Henry Ford received a medal from Hitler before the war and his book "The International Jew" helped inspire Nazi racial theory. (You used to get a free copy whenever you bought a Ford.) If nothing else, at least the Swedes treated interned Allied aircrews better than the Swiss did.
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Old 03-29-2017, 10:24 PM
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I am reading a biography of Audie Murphy, and it says that he and his comrades used to go scouting for Germans to shoot and capture, and one way they found them was by sniffing out their tobacco smoke. Since this occurred in Italy and France in the period, roughly, late 1943 and early 1944, it tells me the Germans still had something that passed for tobacco in sufficient quantities that it was a recorded means of tracking the enemy. For what it's worth...... (That's what led me here, by the way; I'd never considered this before.)
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Old 03-29-2017, 10:45 PM
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Old 03-29-2017, 10:46 PM
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Old 03-30-2017, 04:03 AM
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Two thing I know about this subject. Tobacco readily grows in colder climes. I grew up (50s & 60s) in southwestern Massachusetts where the primary agricultural product, by a large margin, was tobacco. The second thing I know is that Turkish tobacco is terrible. If I had to choose between Turkish tobacco & dried cow dung, I'd pick the dung. Oh yeah, one more thing, tobacco is a New World discovery, a part of the nightshade family.
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Old 03-30-2017, 09:34 AM
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Old 03-30-2017, 10:06 AM
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Old 03-30-2017, 10:11 AM
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Met a Dude who flew B-24s out of Baghdad.
He said that the only US Items there were his uniforms and his B-24.
He didn't like the Brit cigarettes, food or bombs.
Half the bombs didn't explode.
The aviation gas was ok. The Brits were already refining down in S Iraq.
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Old 03-30-2017, 12:16 PM
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I never saw this thread before, but to reply to all the speculation with the actual answer:

The bulk of the German tobacco supply traditionally came from Greece, Bulgaria, and Turkey, so the coming of war did not significantly impact German access to tobacco except for cigar tobacco from overseas.

From 1941 until the retreat, the Reemstma brothers of Hamburg, by far Germany's largest purveyor of tobacco products, set up large-scale production in Russia on the Crimea, where the climate was particularly suited. A rather sordid story involving whole "tobacco villages" performing slave labor.

Of course, the tobacco supply went down with everything else as the Reich's borders shrunk in the last years of the war, just as the stress level went up. That's why (especially American) cigarettes were so much in demand as trade currency and on the black market among the civilan population as the Allies advanced and after the end of the war.
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Old 03-30-2017, 01:05 PM
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Old 03-30-2017, 01:30 PM
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Old 03-30-2017, 06:30 PM
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Old 03-30-2017, 08:04 PM
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commander, russian, wwii

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