National Geographic : 1961 Dec
In the days before the Communists dropped the concrete curtain last August, we saw svelte ladies go into KaDeWe and come out waddling like fat ducks. Delicate inquiry elicited the information that they were from the East and were wearing six complete sets of unmentionables. It was the only way they could smuggle their purchases to their homes Over There. Because there is a long haul in for raw materials and a long haul out for finished products, things made in West Berlin cost a little more than they should. To offset this, the German Government gives Berlin a sub sidy in the form of a tax advantage: There is a West German tax of 4 percent on every business transaction. A "turnover tax" it is called, and it is levied on every sale. West Berlin industry is excused from this tax. It gives West Germans an incentive to buy West Berlin goods. In addition, the city gets a direct subsidy from West Germany; in 1961 it amounted to $200,000,000. Berliners are unhappy about receiving 760 federal "charity," although as Mayor Willy Brandt points out, it is not unusual for a Ger man state (Berlin is classed as a state of West Germany) to receive such aid. Other parts of Germany also are subsidized. Furthermore, Berlin has been doing better each year, expanding its manufactures and paying more of its own way. "In 1950," Mayor Brandt told us, "West Berlin lived only half by its own efforts. Now we pay 85 to 87 percent of our way. We get only 15 percent from outside." Free University Has World Support When Berlin was divided in 1948, the city's old liberal arts university, called Friedrich Wilhelm University, fell into the Eastern sec tor. Renamed Humboldt University by the Communists, it continued to operate, but al most immediately a large group of its profes sors and students fled to West Berlin, refusing to live and work under Communist restric tions. They held classes wherever they could, meanwhile pleading for a permanent home.