A Report on the Upper Middle Class in Vienna, January 1920

Marjorie Vernon ↑(Marjorie Leon)↓

Printed by J. Weiner, Vienna [page 2]


"We have spent our capital, we have sold our furniture and [jewelry], how shall we live now?" That is, in Vienna, the eternal problem of the educated middle class people who at home in England earn anything from £500 a year upwards -- doctors, lawyers, university professors, graduates, artists and higher grade civil servants, together with the higher officials of private companies. Before the war most of them were comfortably off -- some were even rich -- they could afford to travel, to buy books and pictures -- their children were well educated -- they had good clothes and often went to concerts and [theaters] and the opera. Now most of them cannot afford to keep a servant, new clothes are unheard of things, while to be ill is an impossibility!

Everyone in Vienna, save the war profiteer, is poor -- every one lives from hand to mouth. But the middle class people are fantastically poor. "Why is this" you ask -- "Why has the middle class suffered more than anyone else?" To begin with, the same thing is true in a minor degree in all countries. In England the incomes of the middle class have risen less than the incomes of anyone else and the reason in all countries is much the same -- lack of [organization]. The trade unions have secured for the hand workers that which no amount of education has been able to secure for the brain workers. We have begun to [realize] this at [page 3] home, and here too the middle class people are beginning to [organize] themselves. But it is a hopeless time to choose for beginning. With the best will in the world, there is not enough of anything to satisfy the needs of the whole population, and so those who press hardest get most. Apart from lack of [organization], there are various political reasons why in Vienna the situation should be so bad. The first of course is the break up of the Austrian Empire. A glance at the map will show what a ruthless pruning the erstwhile great Austrian Empire has undergone. It is now only about one sixth of its previous size, and from the point of view of fertile country, only about one tenth; whilst the population has diminished from fifty six million to six million.

In Austria proper, and especially in Vienna, there has always been an undue proportion of brain workers as against artisans and [laborers]. Since the revolution the brain workers in Vienna have again been largely added to by the officials from the now independent principalities which have been formed out of what was previously Austria. These unfortunate people -- turned out of their safe and comfortable jobs through no fault of their own -- are now in Vienna, without work and often without pensions: The Government does what it can, but it is almost bankrupt itself, and can in no case give more than a nominal pension. Besides the officials which have been dismissed from these countries, many Austrian refugees have fled from there and have taken refuge in Vienna. This is specially the case with the Jews, for although they are disliked in Vienna, yet they are even more disliked in the [neighboring] states -- and certainly run greater risks. There is yet another section of the middle class people which has been added to already overcrowded Vienna, and that is a large number of [demobilized] officers from the old army. Since the revolution the old Austrian army has completely gone, and its place has been taken by the "Volkswehr" or the people's army. This has been brought into being by the present [page 4] Social Democrat Government and many of the old officers have refused to have anything to do with it. This is especially true of the older officers and of those in the reserve. Many of the younger officers however did wish to rejoin for the sake of their bread and butter, as soldiering was the only job for which they were trained. But the Peace Treaty has so cut down the Austrian army that there is no longer work for more than a small proportion of these [ex-officers]. Of those who have gone back, nearly all hate the present regime. It is indeed, from their point of view hard, for their whole training and traditions have made them quite unfit to cope with modern conditions, in an army of soldiers who insist on having opinions -- both political and otherwise -- and on expressing them! There are therefore [many] old ex-officers settled in and near Vienna with miserably inadequate pensions -- their vocation in life gone and nothing to do but to look backwards and live on their memories.

Here then is a great city with a population of nearly two million souls (1,838,708). Of these an undue proportion (about 352,000)* are upper middle class people, and of these [page 5] again a considerable number are either new-comers without employment, or people previously living in Vienna who have lost their work and subsist on their pensions.

As every one knows, the situation of the whole population in Vienna is very critical. One hears a great deal about illicit trade but, as a matter of fact, if all the goods which are sold in this way to the rich were distributed evenly amongst the whole population, they would hardly make any perceptible difference. The truth is, that there is a real and acute shortage of everything, which can only be remedied by increased production, which is not yet! Consequently someone has to go short, (in fact no one save the war profiteers can really make both ends meet) but the people who go shortest are those whose incomes have risen least -- and those people are undoubtedly the upper middle class. The wages of the workers are on an average only between 23 and 33 times what they were in 1913. This is not much, when one thinks that clothes are now at least 80 times as dear and food 40 times as dear as then. But the incomes of the "Mittelstand" are only between four and eight times as much as in 1913! For instance the salaries of civil servants are about eight times what they were in 1913, teachers' salaries are between four and six times what they were. On the other hand the salaries of pensioners have hardly risen at all, and people who live on their investments are of course in a terrible state as their incomes have not gone up at all.

How then do matters financial really stand with the upper middle class? Before going into the question of their actual salaries and ways of living, I should like to set a standard with which the actual salaries may be compared. [page 6]

Here is a yearly budget which is a comparison between two families of four people each -- father, mother and two children. Both families buy the same things and the same quantities -- but one family buys in England and pays English prices, the other family buys in Vienna and pays the actual Viennese prices. The result shows that £292 odd buys the same amount of goods in London, as 176,000 Kronen will buy in Vienna. It will be observed that this budget is by no means a complete budget for a middle class family. It makes no allowance for:

1 Clothes

2 Rates and Taxes

3 Insurance

4 Doctors and dentists

5 Holidays and amusements

6 Education

7 Books and Newspapers

8 Wine and tobacco

9 Replacement of furniture, house linen and kitchen utensils

10 Domestic Service

[Traveling] and repairs have been rated very low indeed. But on the other hand it does provide a perfectly adequate allowance -- without luxuries -- of food. To a Viennese of today such a weekly menu would spell Elysium -- no one could afford it. Yet it only includes those food stuffs which, in England, middle class people are accustomed to regard as absolute necessities, even in war time, and without which the health of the family would undoubtedly suffer. This whole budget therefore only includes the bare essentials of life -- and yet it comes in Vienna to 176,000 Kronen. The highest salary anyone, with very few exceptions, gets in Vienna is about 96,000 Kronen, and even this is far in excess of the average. [page 7]

Articles English
£  s  d
Bread per wk 28 lbs 7  0 4 kilo (ration) 24
88 [kilo] (schleichhandel) 264
Flour .... 3 [lbs] 7 2 [kilo] (ration) 23
Sugar .... 2 [lbs] 2  4 15 dekkas (ration) 7
90 [dekkas] (schleichhandel) 135
Meat .... 7 [lbs] 10  0 10 [dekkas] (ration) 124
3 kilo (schleichhandel) 450
Potatoes ... 33 [lbs] 4  6 15 [kilo] 129
Fat ..... 3½ [lbs] 4  6 12 dekkas (ration) 14
1½ kilo (schleichhandel) 240
Jam ..... 4 [lbs] 3  8 2 [kilo (schleichhandel)] 80
Oatmeal ... 2 [lbs] 1 0 1 [kilo (schleichhandel)] 10
Vegetables ..  28 [lbs] 7 0 128 [kilo (schleichhandel)] 128
Milk .... 4 quarts 14 0 14 [liters] 140
Cereals ... 2 lbs 1  0 1 kilo 50
Dried beans .  1 [lb] 6 ½ [kilo] 14
Fish, eggs or Rabbit ..  6 [lbs] 10  0 3 [kilo] 240
Cheese .... 1 [lb] 1  6 ½ [kilo] 75
Fruit .... 8 [lbs] 4  0 3½ [kilo] 175
Tea ..... ¼ [lb] 7 [½?] [kilo] 22
Coffee .... ½ [lb] 1  0 ¼ [kilo] 13
Cocoa .... ¼ [lb] 10 [½?] [kilo] 22
Boot polish .. 1 tin 4 1 tin 13
Soda .... 1 lbs 2 ½ kilo 4
Soap ..... 1 [lbs] 1  4 [½] [kilo] 30
Weekly total. £ 3  15  10 2326
Yearly total ... £ 197  3  4 120.952
Coal 10 tons a year £ 22  10  0 364 kilo (ration) 728
9636 [kilo] (schleichhandel) 48.180
Electric light ... £ 6  0  0 1.560
Firewood ..... £ 3  0  0 800 [kilo] 800
Trams about 6d a day £ 9  0  0 about 6 K a day 2.190
Repairs to house and clothes .. £ 5  0  0 1.000
Rent ...... £ 50  0  0 1.000
Yearly total ... £ 292 13 4 Yearly total .. 176.410

[page 8]

Even more startling increases could be shown in the case of clothes. But as no Viennese can afford to buy clothes at all, of any kind, the figures are hardly worth quoting. Suffice it to say that clothes are 80 times as dear as they were in 1913. To buy in Vienna the clothes one could buy for, say, £50 in London, one would have to have at least 40,000 Kronen extra. One other item should be mentioned at this point -- an item which figures largely in the post war budget of all countries, and that is taxation. We have seen that £100 in England will buy about the same amount of goods as 59,000 Kronen will buy in Austria. If we consider the income tax, which is one of the most important taxes in both countries, what do we find? In England there is no income tax on yearly incomes smaller than £160. Here the tax is imposed on yearly incomes of 4000 Kronen. True, such an income only pays 70 Kronen in tax. On an income of 20,000 Kronen however the income tax is already 865 Kronen and on an income of 30,000 Kronen it is 1552. It is not to the point here to go into elaborate details on taxation. The above will show that owing to the fantastically great changes which have taken place in the purchasing power of money here, people with salaries are taxed out of all proportion to the value of their incomes.

One can multiply instances of the incredible increase of prices as against salaries ad infinitum, but it is impossible to [realize] what it really means unless one lives in daily contact with the people or tries to buy things oneself on an Austrian income. I will only give one instance and a very simple one. In April 1914 a competition was held by one of the Vienna newspapers for the best dinner for 4 people which could be bought for 2 Kronen 40 Heller. The following menu won the prize. Cheese soup, fish stew, suet dumplings, plain buns, bread. It cost exactly 2 Kronen 40 Heller. The same meal for 4 people would now cost 108 Kronen 86 Heller. [page 9]

It will be of interest to the English reader, if he has now got some idea of what it costs to live in Vienna at the present day, to investigate the various professions in some detail, to hear of real salaries and of how the people themselves say they live.

The largest section of middle class people in Vienna are the Civil Servants -- or as they call them here -- the State Officials. The salaries of the higher officials (people who have probably continued their education in the University until the age of about 25 and who hold positions of responsibility) range from about 20,000 to 70,000 Kronen a year. The salaries of the officials of the Gemeinde Wien (The Vienna Government) even run up to over 90,000 -- but in no case do any of them approach anywhere near to 176,000 Kronen, which is the figure arrived at in the budget worked out above.

Here is an actual case -- The man is a "Finanzsekretaer" in the Government service, and before the war he earned 3600 Kronen a year. In those days he lived at Krems -- a town about 3 hours journey from Vienna -- with his wife and his 4 children, a boy and three girls. He was quite well off, kept a servant and lived very comfortably. His income has now been raised to 42,000 Kronen. On this income he finds it impossible to keep his family together at all. He has left his wife and the little boy in Krems -- the eldest girl has got work for which she is paid 12,000 Kronen a year -- The two little girls of twelve and fourteen have been sent to a boarding school which costs him 600 Kronen a month. He himself has come to live alone in Vienna in one little room, for which he pays 80 Kronen a month. These are [favorable] terms as the landlord happens to be a friend of his. For his midday meal he goes to the Gemeinschaftsküche (it corresponds to our war time national kitchen) where he pays only 7 Kronen for his meal and gets soup, vegetables and a mehlspeise, -- which corresponds to our pudding. Nowadays in Vienna a mehlspeise is often just a piece of slightly sweet [page 10] bread or perhaps cooked tapioca with cinnamon and sugar sprinkled over it. These Gemeinschafts -- and Kriegsküchen are depressing places, sometimes they are underground, always they are dismal. You see long tables covered with dirty table-cloths at which rows of shabby disheartened people sit, silently lapping up watery soup or stodging through mounds of potatoes and vegetable marrows. One [aluminum] spoon and fork suffices for the whole meal. In the evening, however our friend the Finanzsekretaer has to go to a restaurant, as the Kitchen is closed.[**] There he will find it hard to dine under about 20 or 25 Kronen, and if he wants any meat he will have to pay about 40 Kronen more. To add to his troubles his little girls are both unwell -- one has had pleurisy, and the other child has to see an oculist -- all causes of additional expense.

Herr D., our second case, is not a government official. He is however one of the leading men in Vienna and earns one of the biggest salaries. His income before the war was 16,000 -- now it is 120,000 Kronen a year. He gets his house at a nominal rent of 2500 Kronen p. a., together with free lighting and heating. He is entitled to a pension on retirement. From this it will be seen that Herr D. enjoys a most [favored] position from the financial point of view. Before the war, on his pre-war salary, he really was a very well-to-do man. Now, in comparison with a man of his position in any other city of the world, he is poor, though in Vienna he is nevertheless richer than most other salaried people. Let us see how he lives. He has a wife and three children, of thirteen, ten and eight years respectively. Before the war he had two maids and a governess -- one maid only now remains. [page 11] The governess is kept on because she has taken the two younger children with her to a farm in the country, where they can live at one third the cost and where the children can be properly fed. It is interesting to note that, until the governess undertook the whole responsibility of the children in the country, when her salary was raised, the cook and she received exactly the same wages. The eldest boy, Herr D. has been able to send abroad. He is a tall big child and after 5 weeks abroad he has put on 16 lbs in weight. Both he and one of the sisters had been diagnosed by the doctor as being badly [undernourished]. The boy's first letter home from abroad began with the words: "Now I am no longer always hungry." And yet this is the son of a man who has one of the biggest salaries in Vienna! Of course no house linen or even clothes have been bought for several years -- most of the savings have been spent, and Herr D. told me that he was seriously thinking of selling his carpets.

From our rich friend Herr D. there is a big drop to that unfortunate section of the population, the discharged ex-officers, whose pensions range from 22,000 to 42,000 Kronen a year. Ex-generals and colonels who formerly walked the streets proud and happy in their gorgeous uniforms, before whom everyone gave way, and who were accustomed to rule wherever they went, are now only shabby unemployed civilians, glad to take on any job, and only too thankful if their sons and daughters can be brought up to any work which will bring them in something approximating to a living wage. Worse off still, however, are their widows, who have to make both ends meet on anything between 1300 and 2000 Kronen a year.

Here is a typical case. The husband of Frau S. was a retired general of artillery. When war broke out he rejoined the army and died in Poland in 1917. The eldest son was killed in 1915. Frau S. now lives with her second son and daughter. She gets the pension of a general's widow, which is 2436 Kronen [page 12] a year. Within the last few months it has been slightly raised, and in May she got a lump sum down of 2500 Kronen for arrears. She is elderly but has had to find work, and she now earns 720 Kronen a month by needlework. Her second son had his medical studies broken into by the war. However, he has now finished them and is an unpaid assistant at an eye clinic. He hopes that in a couple of months from now he will be earning the princely salary of 5400 Kronen a year. The daughter had almost completed her training for "Volkspflege" -- which roughly corresponds to our sanitary inspector but which gives a much wider training. In July she will obtain a paid post and will earn 3600 Kronen. The total family income will then amount to about 20,000 Kronen a year. This vast income will however, only [materialize] in the autumn. Meanwhile Frau S. has spent almost all the capital she had invested and has sold every scrap of [jewelry].

Pensioned widows and civilians are also trying to live on about the same starvation pensions of 1300 to 2000 Kronen a year. This is obviously so inadequate to support even one person, that one can say that they are all starving, save the fortunate ones who have not yet exhausted their private means or sold all their superfluous furniture and possessions. Here is just one typical case. Frau W's husband was a school master. When her husband was alive she used to live in great comfort in a nice house with two servants. Now she has a pension of 3600 Kronen a year. This, however, is only since February. Before that her pension was 2164 Kronen a year. In view however of the increased cost of living a generous government has now raised it to its present dazzling amount! This old lady is lucky enough to have a niece, who lives with her and pays her 1200 Kronen a year. How does Frau W. live? She does all her housework herself and such cooking as there is to do. She has had no servant for three years and has even had to give up the luxury of the occasional charwoman. [page 13] She has not tasted milk for six years, not even a drop of condensed milk for her tea. She almost wept on being presented with a small tin of café au lait! Neither sugar, butter nor meat are ever seen in her house. For breakfast she has plain tea, and her ration -- a small slice -- of black bread. For lunch, soup and koch salat (boiled lettuce) or boiled beans. Very, very seldom can she afford a mehlspeise. For supper, she has the same as at lunch, only probably less of it. This poor old lady is typical of hundreds of others -- they hardly ever go out -- their clothes are worn threadbare and they are ashamed, so they sit quietly at home, living on their memories, pathetically grateful for any kindness, and just waiting for death and to overtake them. They are not the class who get helped by the relief agencies -- they are too old and are of not enough use to the State for that, and one cannot imagine them making a great fuss about things. So they just live until they, happily, die.

The ordinary pensioned official is not very much better off. This is especially true of the officials who have had posts in those parts of the country which no longer belong to Austria. For instance I know a man of nearly seventy, who was vice-governor of Bukovina. Bukovina is no longer an Austrian province, but is now in [Romania]. Naturally the [Romanians] give him no pension. From the Austrian government he gets 15,000 Kronen a year. He is old and ill, he has spent his life in the service of his country, and now at the end of it, through no fault of his own, he finds himself -- not starving -- but very, very poor, and certainly unable to live in the way his health and age demand. He has to have a servant as he cannot walk much. He has spent all his capital, but up till now, he has not had to sell his furniture.

It is depressing enough to think of these poor old people, but at any rate one can comfort oneself by remembering that these afflictions have only fallen upon them late in life. They have lived most of their lives in the days before Armageddon and have had their share of the world's good. [page 14]

But there is another class of people -- of young people -- of people just beginning to live, who are, many of them, literally starving. The eleven thousand students -- both men and women -- at the University, the 10,000 students at the school of Technology, at the School of Economics etc. are having a terrible time. They are young people ranging from 18 to 28 and come from all over Austria. Those whose families live in Vienna can at any rate have a roof over their heads, but some, who are alone here, have not enough money even to pay for a room. One small room is often shared by several people, and some of the men have in summer been found sleeping on the benches in the streets or public gardens. Others hide in the building when the closing hour comes so that they may at any rate have a roof over their heads. I do not mean by this to imply that all the students in Vienna are starving. That is not true, but a very large number are desperately poor and some are really starving. Many come to lectures with no clothes on at all but an old suit or uniform. One student who was offered some work at a cinema which would have enabled him to have rather better food, had to refuse the work as he had no clothes fit to go in. One constantly comes across cases of young men and women who are living on less than 3600 Kronen a year, and out of that they sometimes buy a ticket for a concert. This passionate love of the Viennese generally for art, and especially for all music, is most striking. All children, even the poorest, used to receive a most thorough musical education, and their love and appreciation of it must have helped them through many hard times.

Many of the students of course eke out their money by giving lessons. Very few get money from their relations. One student I know lives on 350 Kronen a month -- 150 Kronen of this is given him by his relatives and he earns the other 200. He has to pay 100 Kronen a month in rent. His washing [page 15] costs him at least 60 Kronen, and as he studies at night, he has to spend 90 Kronen a month on petroleum for his lamp. He therefore has 100 Kronen a month left for his other expenses. He can get at the university Mensa a midday meal for 4.50 Kronen and a supper for 3.20 Kronen. He told me that he could afford these luxuries about once a week!

Not much better off than the students are the professors who teach them. At the University there are roughly about 175 professors and lecturers. The average yearly salary for a full professor (ordentlicher Professor) is between 34,800 and 40,000 Kronen a year, plus an allowance of 1200 Kronen for the wife and each child. For an assistant professor (ausserordentlicher Professor) the average yearly salary is between 24,000 and 28,000 Kronen (including the allowance for wife and children); while people who are only Honorar or Privat Dozenten get lower salaries still.

For instance here is the case of a man of thirty one, who is an assistant lecturer on Eastern European languages and history at the University. He has a wife and one child of eight and his salary is 21,600 Kronen a year. He pays 720 Kronen in rent and 480 for light a year. The whole family go to the Gemeinschaftsküche for their midday meal which costs them 9 Kronen each. The child is very delicate and underfed, although the parents make tremendous sacrifices to buy her three or four tins of condensed milk each week. Each tin has to be bought in "Schleichhandel" and costs 50 Kronen. Professors' salaries of course vary considerably, but in no case do they ever approximate to a real living wage. I have before me a list of some half dozen professors -- personally known but quite average cases. Here are two samples: a professor of a University, 53 years old, with a wife and two children -- his total salary is 20,000 Kronen a year. An assistant professor, 58 years old with a wife and three children -- his [page 16] total salary is 19,690 Kronen a year -- and one could quote such cases indefinitely. There is, however, a further tragedy involved for these professors. They have not enough to eat, they cannot clothe themselves or their families properly, but besides this they cannot even pursue their work without being held up at every point. All printing, for instance, has gone up by at least 2000% in the last year or so. Then the interchange of scientific papers and magazines between the professors and universities of different countries has practically ceased, for even were the countries willing, Austria, even in this sphere, has very little to give. Scientific research again is only persevered in against fearful odds. The prices of things needed for an ordinary chemical laboratory have risen by about 4000%. Ordinary drugs and chemicals are anything from 40 to 100 times as dear as before the war. There was a little while ago an almost comically pathetic article in a newspaper by a doctor engaged in research work. He wrote most despondently about the terrible cost of rabbits and guinea pigs -- essential for research work -- and lamented bitterly that people nowadays eat them in such vast quantities as to make them almost worth their weight in gold. The letter made one smile, yet it revealed the hopeless blank which faces people here whichever way they turn. They are hungry and cold and turn to their work for help, and there the same [specter] of despair faces them again and there does not seem to be any way out.

Even worse off still are the school teachers and specially the teachers in the private schools. This includes all the teachers in girls secondary schools, as all the higher education of girls is managed privately. An assistant mistress at one of these schools (not a young woman, but one of many years experiences) earns about 8000-20,000 Kronen a year. What this means in practice is that all these women teachers in private schools give lessons out of hours. They teach in school [page 17] all day, and then, [instead] of enjoying that peace and quiet which is so absolutely necessary if a teacher is to do her work well, they have to take private pupils or classes at night. From both the point of view of the pupils and the teachers this is a deplorable situation. The children are of necessity less well taught and the teachers sooner or later are bound to break under the strain. Luckily there are only about four or five hundred teachers of this class in Vienna, as the teaching in these schools is largely supplemented by men teachers who earn rather more. (In passing be it said that a headmistress in Vienna has never been seen. Even the girls' schools have head masters.)

The teachers in the government schools are much better off, as they earn anything between 13,000 and 25,000 Kronen a year. A few head masters of secondary schools even earn as much as 45,000 Kronen a year, but these are the exception, not the rule. Of course it is pretty impossible to live properly even on this, as may be seen by looking at the budget given above. Yet, when compared with the private school teachers, these salaries are princely. Even private lessons and supplementary earnings out of hours by no means bring the income of a private school teacher up to a living wage. The only way out is to sell all your possessions. That is what the private teachers have been going for the last two or three years. As this class includes some of the best and most educated women in Vienna, the wrench is pretty bad -- inherited furniture, carpets, jewelry and books all are slowly disposed of -- when all is gone what will happen?

The last class of people I shall deal with are the artists -- the painters, sculptors and architects. These poor people are suffering terribly. In a starving town, who is going to buy a picture or a statue, less still build a house? Some there are who have private means, but most depend on themselves for their livelihood. Of all the misery in Vienna, the suffering amongst this [page 18] class is the most really tragic. Artists are never rich at the best of times. They have no large resources in the way of furniture and possessions generally, which can be [realized]. They are sensitive and suffer easily, they are proud and do not like to beg -- what are they to do, for many of them have nothing? The actual cost of painting a picture, which takes say three weeks to finish, is now about 3615 Kronen. This only includes the actual apparatus necessary for the picture -- the frame, the [canvas], paints, the wages of the model and heating for the room. Besides this the man must eat and probably buy food for a wife too. He has all his expenses to defray, and then almost always, urged on by dire want, must sell his work for considerably less than it cost him in cash.

Here is one actual case. A painter and his wife live in a little flat. His only sure income is two hundred Kronen a month which he earns by giving drawing lessons. There is at present a big exhibition of modern pictures open in Vienna. Herr A. has one or two pictures there, but he has no hope of selling. Of all the pictures only four have been sold, and the show has been open for some weeks. The only people who buy pictures in Vienna, as Herr A., pathetically explained, are the war profiteers. They are not the people in Vienna -- however it may be in London -- who buy modern pictures. They either buy old masters, which are expensive and safe, or else they buy after own hearts, and that again is no help to my friend. During the winter, Herr A's room -- he cannot afford a studio -- was 6º below freezing. A great deal of his furniture went for firewood and the rest for food. His wife has been ill since the baby died during the winter of 1918, but there is nothing to be done about it. You cannot be ill in Vienna -- it is an impossibility. How can Herr A. buy milk for his wife when he cannot even buy her bread? He must work, and she must walk the markets till she finds an onion or a cabbage cheap enough [page 19] for her to buy, and then she must come home and cook it as best she can with practically no gas or fire. You must not worry either, for it is weakening. Yet how can you help it when you are saddled with debts which you cannot pay, and when, though you work your hardest and best, there is no one who wants your pictures? And the price of materials! Before the war a tube of paint cost 60 Heller -- now it costs 100 Kronen. A piece of [canvas] 2X3 feet cost 2 Kronen, now it costs 150 Kronen.

The Society of Austrian architects (which corresponds to our Royal Institute of British architects) has a membership of between 200-300 for all Austria. Of this it may safely be said that 90% are unemployed. On the whole however the architects are less badly off. About one and a half million Kronen have been subscribed by the Swiss and the Swedes for competitions and this gives a little relief. Nevertheless the need is pretty bad and is worse than it should be. There is a demand for Austrian architects in all [neighboring] countries and especially in [Czechoslovakia] and [Yugoslavia] where the people are better off. They really want Austrian architects there but they cannot openly say so. Suspicion and jealously still rule. There is little intercourse between the countries and all that there is, is kept very quiet. Meanwhile the architects here have to pay 1100 Kronen for a roll of ordinary drawing paper which used to cost 20 Kronen. When they have drawn on it, with ink which costs 20 Kronen a bottle instead of 60 Heller, there is no one to buy their plans.

What then is the net result of all this suffering -- can we find any figures which will measure it for us to any extent? It is practically impossible to get figures -- birth or death or disease rates and so on -- which apply only to the middle class. I have only been able to get one set of figures where one can pick out the middle class and compare it with the working class.

There is now going on in Vienna a medical examination of all school children under fourteen years of age. This [page 20] examination is specially an enquiry into underfeeding and [anemia]. The children are divided into three classes -- with subdivisions for [anemia] which we need not go [into]. The first class are the best fed and the third the worst fed children. Vienna is divided into districts and the results in each district are grouped together. It is therefore possible to compare the results of an examination in a working class district with those obtained in a middle class district. In the following table I have compared four middle class districts with three working class districts:

A. Middle class districts.

  % children in
Class I
% children in
Class II
% children in
Class III
1. 38.4 15.2 46.4
2. 25.4 53.3 21.3
3. 18 45.6 36.4
4. 11.8 20.6 67.6
Total ... 93.6 134.7 171.7
Average .. 23.4 33.7 42.9

Total number of children examined 9308.

B. Working class districts:

  % children in
Class I
% children in
Class II
% children in
Class III
1. 14.4 38.3 47.3
2. 47.2 26.4 26.4
3. 19.5 34 46.5
Total ... 81.1 98.7 120.2
Average .. 27.03 32.9 40.07

Number of children examined 41,194. [page 21]

From this it will be seen that the middle class districts show slightly worse results than the working class districts. I was particularly struck by this phenomenon when I went with the school doctor to see the medical examination in progress. We first went to a school which is situated in one of the healthiest districts in Vienna. This district is chiefly inhabited by middle class people, it is almost outside the town and lies very high. The air is fresh and pure and in normal times the children are particularly healthy. Later we visited a school where the children come almost entirely from working class homes. The district has the reputation of being one of the worst in Vienna -- it lies low, the houses are more crowded together, the people more ignorant. And yet one undoubtedly got the general impression that the children in the middle class school were worse developed, were whiter and thinner than those in the working class school. The school doctor also bore this out and it really does appear to be true. When one thinks of all the advantages which middle class children have -- the air space first and then the intelligence in buying food, the care and thought, the cleanliness, everything in the child's [favor] -- these facts and figures are rather striking.

It may perhaps occur to some, after reading this report though, to wonder whether after all, middle class relief is a right thing to undertake at all. They may feel, as, in varying degrees, everyone is bound to feel who knows anything about Vienna, that the Viennese middle class, as it exists at present, is doomed to perish -- that relief however generously given is merely a temporary relief which only puts off, but cannot prevent, the final consummation. They may feel that in a country where the barest necessities of life are unprovided for, where for many years to come no one will have money to spend on anything but bread and butter, a cultured middle class does not stand a chance of surviving, and that to keep it alive is merely to foster an artificial state [page 22] of society which, if left alone, would readjust itself and reach a position of stable equilibrium more quickly, and therefore ultimately with less suffering, than if relief agencies intervened. Such thoughts as these have often crossed the minds of everyone who has come into contact with the middle class problem here. If this were all, if our relief to the middle class here meant only that we were salving our own consciences -- which is the only thing which relief thoughtlessly given can do -- then I would admit the argument and plead no more for the middle class. But there is more to it than this and I feel the problem must be approached from a broader point of view.

After five years of war in which the whole of the [civilized] world has been involved -- and especially after two years of peace! -- the laws and codes by which man had helped himself along have all broken down -- many have proved to be frauds and delusions, much bad tradition has at least been scrapped, a freshness of outlook is made more possible. Nevertheless with all this, we run the risk of a great loss as well. A contempt for life, increased brutality and a rather hardened utilitarian outlook -- all these, together with a class bitterness which is -- when one considers the straits we are in -- altogether tragic, make one feel that if [civilization] is to be saved for humanity at all it must be done by caring for the things of the spirit as well as for those of the body. Love of knowledge for its own sake, ideals of beauty kept over fresh, a steadfast pursuit of truth -- all these are the things without which we cannot live. But because they do not cry aloud like starvation and nakedness for all to hear, because we are hardened and roughened by five years of horror, we pass them over. When however the next generation grows up, what will it say if we have saved the men who worked to feed and clothe humanity, but allowed those to die whose work was to keep [civilization] alive? In Vienna especially, the professors, doctors, artists, musicians and sculptors have a claim which cannot be denied.

[*] The above figure is obtained in the following way -- The figures are taken from the census of 1910.

1. Court, state and other public officials ..... 75,000  
Plus dependents .....   139,000
2. Teachers, professors and all those concerned with education ..... 15,000  
Plus dependents .....   25,000
3. Other professions (Lawyers, doctors, artists, etc.) ..... 15,000  
Plus dependents .....   29,000
4. Small property owners -- people living on investments ..... 52,000  
Plus dependents .....   106,000
5. People in institutions (orphans etc.) .....................................}
    People preparing themselves for professions (students etc.).....}
6. Present estimate of number of officers in Vienna ..... 10,000

It will be observed that a number of people who are technically middle class people are not included in this list. It does not include bank and other private officials, or any shop keepers.

[**] It should be quite clearly understood by the reader that the Gemeinschafts and Kriegsküchen mentioned here and also the students Mensa mentioned further on, only exist on their present scale because of the government grants and the relief agencies in Vienna who have brought food into the town and distribute it in this way -- You can hardly go to any institution in Vienna -- hardly even into a private house -- which has not at some time on another received at least a "Liebesgabe" from some foreign relief agency.