Berlin-Brandenburg, Soviet Occupation (1945 – 1949)

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Fast Facts

Region: Germany / Poland Area
Group: Post WW2 Occupation of Germany
Classification: Occupation (USSR)
Prior Regime: Germany
Key Dates:
  1945 – Defeat of Nazi Germany and Allied occupation of Berlin
  1949, Oct 7 – Formation of the German Democratic Republic
Following Regime: German Democratic Republic
Scott Catalogue: (German Dem Rep, Berlin-Brandenburg) #11N1-11N7
Pick Catalogue: none


Aerial view of Russian controlled Berlin beyond the Brandenburg Gate.  July 1945
Aerial view of Russian controlled Berlin beyond the Brandenburg Gate. July 1945
Berlin-Brandenburg – After the defeat of Germany in World War II, the Allies established a joint military occupation and administration of Germany via the Allied Control Council (ACC), a four-power (US, UK, USSR, France) military government effective until the restoration of German sovereignty. In eastern Germany, the Soviet Occupation Zone (SBZ – Sowjetische Besatzungszone) comprised the five states (Länder) of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Berlin-Brandenburg, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia.  Disagreements over the policies to be followed in the occupied zones quickly led to a breakdown in cooperation between the four powers, and the Soviets administered their zone without regard to the policies implemented in the other zones. The Soviets withdrew from the ACC in 1948, while the other three zones were increasingly unified and granted self-government.  The Soviet administration facilitated the development of a separate socialist government in its zone which ultimately became East Germany.
GER - Post WW2 Germany Map


Of the four members of the Allied Control Council, the Soviets were the first to issue occupation stamps for Berlin.  Seven stamps were issued, primarily featuring the “Berlin Bear”, (except the 30 pfennig issue).  The stamps were inscribed “Stadt Berlin” (City of Berlin) and were good for postage throughout the state of Brandenburg and were put on sale at post offices on July 9th 1945, and were valid in Berlin beginning on Aug 3rd. They wern’t valid in Brandenberg until Nov 12th.


During the first 2 years of occupation the occupying powers France, UK, US, and the Soviet Union, were not able to successfully negotiate a currency reform in Germany. As a consequence each of the Allies printed its own occupation currency.  In the Soviet occupied zones, the Reichsmark was still legal tender in the Soviet occupation zone, and currency flooded into the east from the west where it was worthless.  This resulted in sudden inflation almost overnight.  As an emergency measure, many thousands of employees in the district offices started to affix adhesive coupons to those Reichsmark and Rentenmark banknotes for which the owners could prove their origin, up to a limit of 70 Reichsmark per person. Only such banknotes could be exchanged when the Deutsche Notenbank (the East German counterpart of the Bundesbank) issued the new Deutsche Mark with the subsequent currency reform.
Although the Soviets expressed on 19 June 1948 their surprise about the western currency reform, the German Economic Commission, per consultation with the Soviet Military Administration had already made preparations for this case. The adhesive coupons had already been printed and, with logistic assistance by the Soviets, distributed among the district offices. First affixings of the coupons started immediately, already on 19 June 1948. On 23 June 1948, the official starting day of the action, a considerable store of primed banknotes was already available. This enabled to reduce waiting times and to accelerate the process by exchanging these notes for unprimed banknotes.” On 24 July 1948, a completely new series of banknotes were issued. Officially named the Deutsche Mark von der Deutschen Notenbank, it was known in the west as the Ostmark, or East Mark.


The Battle of Berlin – from Wikipedia
Stamp Collecting World – Soviet Zone Berlin-Brandenburg

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2 Responses to Berlin-Brandenburg, Soviet Occupation (1945 – 1949)

  1. Michael says:

    Jay, thank you for catching my error, of course I meant the 30pf. I will correct.

    Also, I appreciate the detail on availability dates. I am very happy to have those of you who are true experts provide additional helpful info.


  2. “Beginning in 1945, seven stamps were issued, primarily featuring the “Berlin Bear”, (except the 50 pfennig issue).”

    I’m sure you mean the 30 Pf.

    “and were good for postage throughout the state of Brandenburg.”

    The Stadt Berlin stamps were valid in Berlin beginning on Aug. 3, but they were on sale at post offices from July 9. They became valid in Brandenburg only on Nov. 12, 1945.

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