National Geographic : 1961 Dec
The first impression of the city was over whelming. West Berlin's recovery has been fantastic.* At the end of World War II, Allied bombs had all but eradicated Berlin, leaving vast windowless honeycombs of ruins and acres upon acres of rubble. Of the 149,960 build ings in the Western part of the city, 32,227 were demolished and another 100,000 heavily damaged. On the Kurfiirstendamm, West Berlin's Fifth Avenue, 200 of the 250 buildings were destroyed or severely damaged. Now the "Ku'damm" was a glittering showcase of the Western World. The smart shops, interna tional clientele, new buildings, bright lights, and bustling traffic were equal to those of any modern Western capital. Mountains Built of War's Fragments West Berlin has risen from the ruins. Some 200,000 new residences have been provided -enough to house more than half a million people. The total street surface rebuilt or re paired amounts to a 35-foot-wide highway that would stretch all the way from West Berlin to North Africa. Every scrap of rubble that could be sal vaged-230,000 tons of metal and some nine million cubic yards of bricks-was used in rebuilding. The rest has been piled in huge hills and planted with flowers and grass, re Shoppers from East and West mingle in this view of Tauent zienstrasse, photo graphed before the border closing. Defying Red policy, East Ber liners made many pur chases in West Berlin. Utility poles advertise KaDeWe- Department Store of the West. A telephoto lens com presses four blocks in this street scene. Blonde bargain hunter tries on a kerchief be fore a mirror in KaDe We. West Berlin, a fash ion center, has been producing more cloth ing than any other Eu ropean city except Paris. 745 HS EKTACHROME(ABOVE) AND KODA molding the map of the city and adding hilly park scenery. Of Berlin's 341 square miles on the flat Prussian plain, West Berlin occupies a little more than half. There are 2,200,000 West Berliners. Another 1,100,000 Berliners live "Over There"-in East Berlin. Early we sought a vantage point from which to see it all at a glance. Near our hotel in the Grunewald rises one of the rubble mountains. Still unfinished, it one day will be 400 feet high, the highest hill in Berlin. In the evening we drove to the top and watched the lights go up. Near the Tiergarten, we saw the neon signs of cinemas and night clubs wriggle on and watched the floodlights dance on the fountains in Ernst-Reuter Platz, named for the late mayor of the early rebuild ing days. At dark we left, for we were not yet used to standing atop a dead city, and in imagina tion the things that crunched beneath our feet were the porcelain heads and limbs of dolls. We went to the Funkturm, the radio tower that is Berlin's counterpart of the Eiffel Tower. From here we saw the city just as well-and felt better. Tall street lamps picked out the broad *See in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC: "Berlin, Island in a Soviet Sea," by Frederick G. Vosburgh, with photo graphs by Volkmar Wentzel, November, 1951,and "Mod ern Miracle, Made in Germany," by Robert Leslie Conly, June, 1959.