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Degeneracy Table talks (commercial translation)

Uncle Adolf’s table talk, 102



Night of 11th-12th March 1942

The evils of smoking—Three farthings a day.


I made the acquaintance in Bayreuth of a business man, a certain Möckel, who invited me to visit him in Nuremberg. There was a notice above his door: “Smokers not admitted.” For my part, I have no notice above my door, but smokers aren’t admitted.

Some time ago I asked Goring if he really thought it a good idea to be photographed with a pipe in his mouth. And I added, “What would you think of a sculptor who immortalised you with a cigar between your teeth?”

It’s entirely false to suppose that the soldier wouldn’t endure life at the front if he were deprived of tobacco. It’s a mistake to be written on the debit side of the High Command, that from the beginning of the war it allotted the soldier a daily ration of cigarettes. Of course, there’s no question now of going into re- verse.

But as soon as peace has returned, I shall abolish the ration. We can make better use of our foreign currency than squandering it on imports of poison. I shall start the necessary re-education with the young. I’ll tell them: “Don’t follow the example of your elders.”

I experienced such poverty in Vienna. I spent long months without ever having the smallest hot meal. I lived on milk and dry bread. But I spent thirty kreuzers a day on my cigarettes. I smoked between twenty-five and forty of them a day. Well, at that time a kreuzer meant more to me than ten thousand marks do to-day. One day I reflected that with five kreuzers I could buy some butter to put on my bread. I threw my cigarettes into the Danube, and since that day I’ve never smoked again.

I’m convinced that, if I had continued to be a smoker, I’d not have held out against the life of incessant worry that has for so long been mine. Perhaps it’s to this insignificant detail that the German people owes my having been spared to them.

So many men whom I’ve known have died of excessive use of tobacco. My father, first of all. Then Dietrich Eckart, Troost. Soon it’ll be your turn, Hoffmann.