National Geographic : 1970 Jan
My final visit in East Berlin was with one of the last of its capitalists, Helmuth Weg werth. He is the distinguished, impeccably tailored managing director of the firm of Zeuke and Wegwerth, which sells scale-model railroads to hobbyists, under the brand name of Zeuke. The plant annually markets four million dollars' worth and realizes a $200,000 profit. Its 1969 production is completely sold out. It employs 700 people and uses Austrian machines in its factory. "I began this plant in 1945, right after the war, very modestly," Mr. Wegwerth told me. "We prospered, and in 1955 a deal for half KODACHROME (ABOVE)ANDEKTACHROME© N.G.S. Maze of color in a glass woman illustrates circulatory and nervous systems at a hy giene exhibit in East Berlin. Early-morning conference in East Ber lin brings together Humboldt University students and the gynecology faculty. Many professors fled to West Berlin, where they created the Free University in 1949; those remaining belong to a favored profession. The state pays professors $1,000 a month, five times a worker's wage. Stu dents receive a minimum monthly stipend of $42.50. A larger percentage of young people take university courses in East Germany than anywhere else in Europe. ownership was made with the state. An in vestment of three million dollars was con tributed, half by the state and half by myself. That enabled us to build the new plant which you see here, finished in 1964. There are about thirty plants in the GDR of this size with a private-public mix, but it is an interim solu tion. In four or five years, everything will be entirely state owned. "We handle non-Communist markets our selves, but the state buys for any markets in socialist countries." I asked Mr. Wegwerth to account for the boom in the GDR.