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Through the Back Door

The Black Market in Poland 1944–1989


Jerzy Kochanowski

This book analyzes the history of the black market in Poland before the 1940s and the development of black-market phenomena in post-war Poland. The author evaluates the interrelation between black-market phenomena and historical and geographical conditions. At first, the black market stabilized the system by making it more flexible and creating a margin of freedom, albeit in the short term. In the long run, the informal economic activities of the people ran counter to and undermined the official ideology of the state. The author concludes that in post-war Poland, owing to a singular coincidence of historical, political, economic and social factors, the second economy had its own unique character and an endemic presence that loomed large in the Soviet Bloc.

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Bibliographic Information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data is available in the internet at

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Kochanowski, Jerzy, author. Title: Through the back door : the black market in Poland, 1944-1989 / Jerzy Kochanowski. Other titles: Tylnymi drzwiami. English Description: Frankfurt am Main ; New York : Peter Lang Edition, 2017. | Series: Studies in contemporary history, ISSN 2364-2874 ; vol. 5 | Translation of: Tylnymi drzwiami : "czarny rynek" w Polsce, 1944-1989; Warszawa : Wydawnictwo "Neriton", 2010. | Includes bibliographical references. Identifiers: LCCN 2016051003| ISBN 9783631655856 (print) | ISBN 9783653048018 (PDF) | ISBN 9783631704363 (ePub) | ISBN 9783631704370 (MOBI) Subjects: LCSH: Black market–Poland–History–20th century. | Scarcity–Poland–History–20th century. | Poland–Economic conditions–1945-1981. | Poland–Economic conditions–1981-1990. | Poland–Social conditions–1945- Classification: LCC HF5482.65.P7 K6313 2017 | DDC 381–dc23 LC record available at Cover illustration: A vendor, Warsaw, 1970s Photograph by Jacek Sielski, FORUM Polish Photography Agency Copy edited by Anda MacBride and Seamus MacBride

The publication has been founded by Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Poland as part of the National Programme for the Development of Humanities. This publication reflects the views only of the authors, and the Ministry cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. This publication has also been financially supported by the University of Warsaw.

ISSN 2364-2874 ISBN 978-3-631-65585-6 (Print) E-ISBN 978-3-653-04801-8...

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