11 JUNE 1937, Page 18

[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.] SIR,—In his answer to

the article," Everyday Life in Germany," Mr. E. Horsfall-Ertz says that in Germany a family consisting of 2 adults and s child aged 11 years could live quite "com- fortably and happily," and furthermore can run a motor bicycle, with a gross income of 200 RM. per month.

I am a German. myself, living in Berlin, but find it quite impossible to agree with the figures given.

The prices for flats in big towns are much higher. In Berlin, for instance, for 45 RM. per month one can rent only a i4 rooms flat. For the plainest 3 rooms flat one mist pay at least 70 RM. per month.

With regard to the food, every housewife Can tell you that first of all the quantities quoted in the statement are unduly small. For example, i lb. of fruit (that means 4 apples or 3 oranges), or 21 lbs. of vegetables, are Utterly inadequate for 3 persons for a week, particularly as a child of x1 years must live mainly on this kind of food. What can be done with a 1 lb. of butter a week for 3 persons ? Butter is very short, indeed, in Germany, but even the Government concedes 1 lb. a week per head.

The prices given in the statement are mainly those for lowest qualities. For example, meat costs from 0.70 RM. to 2.50 a lb. Fruit is terribly expensive : apples cost 0.70 RN'. a pound, so that families with even higher incomes than 200 RM. a month can hardly afford such luxuries. Much the same applies to vegetables. Again there is no comparison between the quality, of food in London and Berlin. Cheese made from skimmed milk cannot be compared with English cheese, and analyses of the butter supplied in Berlin would come as a surprise to the English housewife.

I cannot in the least understand the price of 1 lb. tea, coffee or cocoa given as 0.50 RM.; 4 lb. of coffee costs 1.20 RM. to 2.0, tea 2.50 to 6.o, cocoa o.8o to 1.20. I can only suppose that roasted barley is used as a substitute in this particular household as in so many others. But in that case it should not be called coffee.

Your correspondence figures are therefore in my opinion doubly misleading. It is true enough that many German families have to exist on 200 RM. a month or even less. But it would be bitter irony to describe this struggle for elementary necessaries as a comfortable and happy life.

For obvious reasons I cannot sign my name.—! am, Sir,