National Geographic : 1970 Jan
Rainy-day view from the West looks along Unter den Linden, principal avenue of the prewar capital and now of Communist East Berlin. The Berlin Wall, foreground, halts traffic through the Brandenburg Gate, the city's triumphal 18th-century entryway. Mayor of free Berlin, Klaus Schiitz speaks of his city as "the place where two political worlds look face to face." The 44-year old Harvard-trained political scientist seeks to expand communi cations and trade with East European countries in line with the policy supported by his mentor Willy Brandt, former mayor of Berlin, who last October became chancellor of Germany. EKTACHROME(ABOVE)ANDKODACHROME BY HOWARDSOCHUREK© N.G.S. "We are Germans," he said simply. "This boom can be attributed to the German mentality and to the indestructible optimism of the Ger man spirit. We have had to accommodate to many kinds of govern ment, but the only measure of merit is accomplishment." That expressed in a general way something I felt strongly in East Berlin-and I left with an opinion, if not a conviction, that the East Berliners do not belong to Walter Ulbricht, in spite of his Wall, or to the Soviet forces that occupy their city, but more and more to them selves as part of a rising, if separate, German state. Many Czech Tourists Decide Not to Go Home In the West, I went first to Marienfelde, following the more than three million East Germans who had voted with their feet and fled to the West before 1961. I found the center occupied largely by elderly persons from East Germany, whom the state lets go as liabilities, and a number of Czech tourists who had defected. "The Czechs, too, will have to build a wall if this keeps up," said a woman receptionist. "More than 40,000 have come into West Germany since the Russians marched into their country. Here's one now."* A middle-aged man wearing a green felt jacket knocked gently at the sliding glass door of the receptionist's office. "He left in his hunting jacket, and that's about all he has." She went to answer his query, and I was called at the same time into *See "Czechoslovakia, the Dream and the Reality," by Edward J. Linehan, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, February 1968.