JULY 17, 1953
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia—In spite of the rain yesterday, which was the first we had seen since our arrival in Greece, Dr. Gurewitsch and I went out for a short walk and found the streets filled with people. The shops have many things in them but it seemed to me the prices were about what they would be in New York. I went into a small furrier who had skins in the window and I asked him what he had that was a Yugoslav fur. He brought out a red fox and told me a coat of that would cost about $100 which is cheaper than one could have bought it wholesale in New York, but the other imported furs were practically the same price.
They must like sweets here for we passed a number of candy shops and pastry shops and the children were always dragging the older people and pointing at the candy.
A stationery shop was crowded with purchasers and there were women looking with care over the materials in shops which sold material by the yard. While everybody was looking, I did not think there was actually much buying going on.
In the evening I asked one of the Yugoslav gentlemen at the dinner about the standard of living of the average workman and how much he could buy, for instance how many hours would he have to work to buy a pair of shoes. The answer was not forthcoming but I was told that the standard of living of the workman was still very low and did not approximate that of the Western European nations or even of Germany.
The government is well aware of the strides Germany has made toward recovery and of the fact of the poverty and lack of rebuilding in many of the small French towns because it was mentioned to me at dinner by one of the elder statesmen who sat beside me.
During my walk I came across a small shop with handcraft work and I am certainly going back to get some souvenirs of the handwork of the country. Also we passed an exhibition of large dolls dressed in native costumes from all over Yugoslavia. We went in to look them over and the artist who had created some of them came up and spoke to us. I was interested to see the many costumes from different parts of this country. One in particular of a gentleman who looked as though he had on the old fashioned pantalettes worn in my great grandmother's day, interested me. His pantalettes, however, were embroidered and adorned with lace and looked very much more attractive than any of the modern trousers gentlemen wear today.