To the occupant of my house on Mahlstrasse in Berlin
I do not know your name or how you came into possession of my house. I only know that two years ago the police of the Third Reich seized all my property, personal and real, and handed it over to the stock company formed by the Reich for the confiscation of the properties of political adversaries (chairman of the board: Minister Goering). I learned this through a letter from the mortgagees. They explained to me that under the laws of the Third Reich confiscations of property belonging to political opponents concern themselves only with credit balances. Although my house and my bank deposits, which had also been confiscated, greatly exceeded in value the amount of the mortgage, I would be obliged to continue the payment of interests on the mortgage, as well as my German taxes, from whatever money I might earn abroad. Be that as it may, one thing is certain – you, Mr. X, are occupying my house and I, in the opinion of the German judges, must pay the costs.
How do you like my house, Mr. X? Do you find it pleasant to live in? Did the silver-grey carpeting in the upper rooms suffer while the SA-men were looting? My concierge sought safety in these upper rooms, as, I being in America at the time, the gentlemen had decided to take it out on him. The carpet is very delicate, and red is a strong color, hard to clean out. The rubber tiling in the stairway was also not primarily designed with the boots of SA-men in mind. Should it have suffered too badly, I recommend you contact the Baake company; the flooring is the same as on the staircases of the “Europa” and the “Bremen”,* and this is the company which delivered it.
Have you any notion why I had the semi-enclosed roof terrace built? Mrs. Feuchtwanger and I used it for our morning exercise. Would you mind seeing to it that the pipes of the shower don’t freeze?
I wonder to what use you have put the two rooms which formerly contained my library. I have been told, Mr. X, that books are not very popular in the Reich in which you live, and whoever shows interest in them is likely to get into difficulties. I, for instance, read your “Führer’s” book and guilelessly remarked that his 140,000 words were 140,000 offenses against the spirit of the German language. The result of this remark is that you are now living in my house. Sometimes I wonder to what uses bookcases can be put in the Third Reich. In case you should decide to have them ripped out, be careful not to damage the wall. And did they rip out the round bench which was built into the library’s window loggia? One thing is for certain, Mr. X, there is a lot to rebuild and repair in the house. May I suggest you contact the architect Slobotka for this purpose? I doubt whether this gentleman is allowed to practice in Berlin though since there aren’t many architects who know how to build in the city, yet there are many party members who want to build. Please, your connections permitting, do not hire a party member but rather a professional. It would be a pity about the house.
* The „Europe“ and the „Bremen“ were luxury ocean liners.