National Geographic : 1947 Jan
What I Saw Across the Rhine U. S. Army Signal Corps, Official Caring for Homeless Germans Is One of AMG's Biggest Problems In tiers of bunks like these, several thousand civilians whose homes have been bombed find temporary shelter in a 5-story building at Krefeld, in the Rhineland. The author visited one area where, he was told, immigrants had swelled the population from 250,000 to 450,000 (page 79). in Berlin also represents this act of "peace" and now the French Tricolor flies above it. People swarm the downtown streets of Munich. One wonders what their business is. Many an individual puts in hours a day locating and bartering for some commonplace piece of food or household article. The central part of the city looks 90 percent destroyed, but miles of apartment houses on the outskirts shelter hordes of human beings. They all seem to walk somewhere for some purpose, or jam into the trains of streetcars, three cars coupled together and driven by one motorman. GIs ride these cars free. Hang ing onto the steps is verboten, but they are as crowded as the inside. Munich Clock Gives Daily Show Many carry briefcases or some other kind of bag. They swarm around the wooden stands built on squares to market food brought di rectly from the country. They bank up three and four deep merely to gaze at painted cards, wooden trinkets, and other knickknacks dis played by some renovated shop in a building otherwise unusable. These knickknacks are the only goods on a free market, except a deluge of paintings, mostly mediocre. Shortly before 11 o'clock every morning a crowd gathers on the square in front of the "new" Munich Rathaus (City Hall), now occupied by the Military Government. When the clock starts to strike eleven, complicated sets of figurines begin acting out a pantomime under the clock. One day while I was waiting for the dis play, a clean-faced boy of 11 years took his position beside me. Like many German school children, he spoke fair English. The clock made its first stroke, and two little iron men went to beating on bells. Then began the parade of military figures two circles of them moving in opposite di rections, foot soldiers first. "Now you will see two soldiers on horses," the boy said. Two knights on horseback appeared, tilting at each other. "The next time they meet," the boy said, "one will kill the other." Again the horsemen passed each other, and one tilted the other out of his saddle. "This tells the story of a war between Ba varia and Austria," the boy said. "Now the people below the soldiers will dance to cele brate the victory."