The difficulties of daily life
The population felt the constraints of a shortage economy: feeding and keeping themselves warm became obsessions.
German levies, smuggling to Belgium, and the black market – with higher prices in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais due to the presence of so many occupying troops – made the rationing system ineffective.
The situation was particularly difficult for urban working-class families who had no garden in which to grow produce.
Women played a vital role in collective survival; the absence of a large number of men, prisoners in Germany, meant that they had to take on increasingly important responsibilities in economic and social life.