In the aftermath of Word War II, a war-torn Europe struggled to survive.
Thanks to the devastation wrought during the conflict, as well as confiscation of property to furnish equipment to armies waging total war, supplies were scarce and raw materials even scarcer.
In addition, it was difficult to get any new goods transported in since so many of the roads and train tracks had been destroyed by either Allied or Nazi forces in an effort to disrupt enemy supply lines.
Most European citizens, especially those in post-war Germany, were so poor that they didn’t even — as the old, crude-but-descriptive saying goes — “have a pot to piss in.”
So what did they do?
As it turns out, under the rule of the victorious Allies who occupied Germany at the war’s end, a solution was in plain view.
They made pots to … do their business in — and they did so using materials they already had on hand: A surplus of 100-percent steel German army helmets.
They took these helmets and fashioned them into bedpans and colanders, among other household items.
Some of these converted helmets are on display at the Dutch Resistance Museum in Amsterdam:
Now that’s ingenuity.
A German film reel dated June 2, 1946 was posted on YouTube by British Pathé TV, and it documents the story of a factory located in Fulda, Germany, as well as the process used to recycle the old helmets into household items sorely needed by the citizens of post-war Germany and Europe.
Watch the process below:
According to a Google Translate rendering of the newsreel transcript, the newly created utensils were were initially given only to refugees and bombing victims.
Presumably, as manufacture of these items increased, other citizens were given access as well.
This endeavor also created much-needed jobs for local workers, who had once worked at the very same factory manufacturing equipment for the army.
And frankly, we think using Nazi helmets as bedpans is nothing short of poetic justice.
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