National Geographic : 1951 Nov
703 Hot Dogs Are Bratwurst Here, but They're Good by Any Name Stands selling Fleisch Bratwurst, or fried meat sausage, on the free side of Potsdamer Platz attract many a small Hans and Horst-and occasionally a Hitler-era lad laboring under the name of Adolf. A juicy sausage like the one held by the caricatured chef-but definitely not as big-costs 30 pfennigs, about seven cents. Instead of nesting in a roll, it rides to its fate on a Knacker, or cracker. "In about 20 minutes," complained one woman, "you get to the Soviet Zone and have to stop." So nowadays these Nature-loving city folk have to content themselves with Berlin's own forest parks, lakes, and rivers, the Havel and the Spree. The latter flows directly through its heart. Even the poorest Berliners plant flowers; often the brightest flower box adorns a patched-up dwelling in a ruin. Berlin a Battleground of Ideas Despite these attempts at normal living, no free Berliner can ever forget that he lives in a battleground of ideas, that just over there, perhaps across the street, is the brooding Communist world. Occasionally a few shots are fired, as when trigger-happy Communist police blazed away at a busload of American sight-seers in Pots damer Platz a few months ago. But usually this is a bulletless battleground, with both sides using every available weapon of psychological warfare. The Soviet station, Radio Berlin, actually located in the Western part of the city, blares Communist propa ganda. The powerful American station, RIAS, broadcasts programs full of news, bit ing comment, music, and interviews with refugees from Red concentration camps and uranium mines. By electric sign the Free Berlin press flashes news to the Soviet Sector (page 691). Last year the West found a novel way to let the Soviet-stifled voice of East Berlin be heard. Acting on an idea conceived by RIAS, West Berlin's major political parties invited their Communist-ruled fellow citizens to ex press their opposition to Communism and their desire for free and secret elections by mailing to the West Berlin city hall the stubs of their expired adult ration books for Sep tember. City hall desks were snowed under with 376,000 valid books of stubs and 72,000 letters or stubs that did not meet the strict requirements. The Communists tried to check the response -and find out who had responded-by offer ing hosiery in exchange for stubs. Exclaimed RIAS, "Lieber Gott! One pair of stockings for freedom!"