National Geographic : 1949 May
U06 Fenno Jacobs from Black Star Bomb-torn Brick and Twisted Steel Frame a Drab Panorama of South Berlin's Desolation From the ruined Karstadt, once the city's largest department store, the camera looks down into the Hermann-Platz, formerly the hub of a busy shop ping section. In the old days the Karstadt was crowned by two tall towers and a roof-garden cafe, where shoppers relaxed and enjoyed the view. The building was six stories high and covered half a city block. Today, only two floors in a small central part are open. Despite their daily hardships amid the shells of once-proud buildings, Berliners have shown a tough spirit that has gratified Allied authorities. By leaving the American, British, or French sec- tors and crossing into the Soviet Zone, Germans may register for larger food and fuel rations than can be supplied by airlift. Few have taken this step. Occupation authorities view last December's elec tion result as proof of Berlin's desire for democ racy. A few days before the plebiscite, Russians banned election preparations in their sector and proclaimed a new magistrate and assembly with authority over all Berlin. The Russians also prom ised more food and fuel. By an overwhelming vote, Berliners rejected the Communist bid and supported their own parties.