National Geographic : 1947 Jan
What I Saw Across the Rhine Russians Admire Bears-Even Those in Cages Squatting amiably behind bars in the Vienna zoo, Bruin is a far cry from Kipling's might, "the bear that walks like a man." Soviet Army soldiers are enthusiastic visitors to Vienna is in the Soviet Zone, the city is under 4-power government. other country in the world supports so many optical shops as Germany. The visiting shopper is offered many rag dogs, indifferent pictures, and beautiful as well as ugly oddities in glass and china, along with bronze commonplaces. In one shop in which I asked the price of a small carving of whalebone, the reply came, "Three hundred marks [$30], or two packages of cigarettes." A young German teaching his language to soldiers at a Negro Red Cross club asked me to recommend a book that would reveal "the right America." I went with him to the library shelves and pointed out Benjamin Franklin's autobiography, two lives of Thomas Jefferson, a history of America by Nevins and Commager. Germans Cry on American Shoulders Within about two minutes this young Ger man was telling me how the Russians had burned up his money during the Siege of Berlin, and how therefore he could not go to the University of Berlin. A German woman, who claims she refused to work under Goebbels and who is now librarian in a Red Cross club, told me in tragic tones how she and her family had lost all in the Siege of Berlin. European symbol of Russian the zoo. Although Both of these people cried on my shoulder without any invitation, and neither seemed to have the slightest realization of the fact that they and their people have merely reaped what the Germans sowed. An interpreter in criminal investigation told me that most thievery of Army supplies in Berlin is being done by boys from 12 to 15 years old. To combat this the Russians did a quick job in re-establishing schools. They did not bother to wait to get new textbooks; they ordered teachers to use whatever text books were available, and told the teachers that any one of them caught teaching German nationalism or race prejudice would be imme diately shot. Some of the economic policies of the Ameri can Military Government look odd in divided Berlin. For instance, the order against trad ing in I. G. Farbenindustrie stock can be enforced only in the United States Zone. Any German in the U. S. section can walk into another zone and sell or buy Farben stock. GI Attitude Toward Germans Varies What is the GI attitude toward the Ger mans? It is as diverse as human attitudes usually are toward anything.