During Wolrd War II, food and other comsumer goods in Italy and other warring countries were rationed and obtainable only by using a personal ration card.
At each purchase, the shop owner would remove from the ration card the corresponding coupons. People who exhausted their allotted coupons had no option but recurring to the black market, an institution always flourishing whenever and wherever a government restricts free-market economy.
Above, a ration cad issued to my mother for her status of "Woman 15 y.o. and older", where coupons in letters, Arabic and Roman numerals refer to different categories of consumer goods.
Pregnancy and the following birth of a child entailed certain additional privileges for the mother and newborn:
- Baby clothing outfit
- Neutral soap
- Extra sugar rations
The first and therefore most stringent rule on the extra-sugar ration card is its surrender in case the child dies, a telling indication of:
- High child-mortality rates
- Scarcity of available sugar
An Italian soldier's family was entitled to additional benefits (below):
- A daily allowance of It£ 8 for the wife
- A daily allowance of It£ 3 for each child
for a total of It£ 165 paid out fortnightly.