Extract from Michael Mitchell's translation

Erwin Blumenfeld's Eye to I: the Autobiography of a Photographer

At ten minutes past eight Herr Schmidt II, the chief accountant, called me to his tall desk to give me my instructions from on high. He was a man who called a spade a spade – and worse – when it came to sex: ‘No male employee of our firm is to maintain relations with any lady of our firm.’ (After my first year there I knew that Herr Schlochauer [Seventeen] served all the ladies in the firm, while Herr Otto Moses [Thirteen] was more selective and concentrated on the models alone.) ‘There are plenty of tarts in Berlin and we don't care what you get up to with ladies from other firms, apart from our direct competitors, Fraenkel & Roer, Fischbein & Mendel, Ball & Mueller, Mendelsohn, Meyerhof & Mamroth. Business secrets have to be kept at all costs, that's what they are there for. Our first business secret is our secret pricing code. Everything else that goes on within these walls is a business secret. Naturally! Everything that goes on in the world goes on naturally, apart from my trousers, they don't go on naturally, but that's a business secret too. I know a saucy little piece, Mietze Schmidt from Orgler & Fidelmann, well-stacked, very beddable, real class! Never says no to a bit of prick. She's got a cunt like a suction pump, when she comes it's there, when it's there, it's over. If I recommend you she'll let you stinky-finger her for free and if the shickse likes you she'll let you schtup her, but she's got catarrh in her passion-pipe. If you screw on Yom Kippur you'll have the clap by Sukkoth for sure. Clap costs money and makes you late, if you're late three times one mark'll be deducted from your salary, after six times you'll be shown the door, so you'd better stay healthy, but do enjoy yourself. Kiss them all while you're sweet and twenty but don't forget, youth's a stuff will not endure.’

How do those immortal lines go?

What a pleasure it is to remember

The days when my every member

Was supple – apart from one.

Those days are past and dim now,

I'm stiff in every limb now –

Apart from one.