Sleepers and lodgers

Inexpensive housing in Berlin was so scarce that subtenants shared up to half of all the city's cheap apartments. These lodgers were mostly single men who – in keeping with their shifts at the factory – alternately shared a bed with two or three other men, thus the nickname "sleepers". One can imagine how a shift worker returning from night duty would stretch out in the still-warm bed of his colleague or landlord, who would then set off for the early shift. Families often depended on subletting beds to strangers during the day in order to supplement the household budget.