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Information bulletin
(June 1951)

Caldwell, W. J.
Touring the border,   pp. [7]-11 PDF (3.3 MB)


Page [8]


Interviews along the border: two American correspond-
ents talk with a German farm woman on a road in Bavaria
while her work cows nibble grass in the Soviet Zone.
Correspondents watch an East Zone police car speed past
the barricade in Moedlareuth. Below, two Bavarian border
guards chat with a farmer whose house at left is in Soviet
Zone and barn at right is in Bavaria.  (PhoLos by Jacoby)
were able to walk to the Soviet border and have their
mail handed to them over the fence. But the Russians
stopped that, so now mail has to be routed to them from
Toepen, the closest Bavarian village having a post office."
The likable resident officer said the community's water
well posed one of the greatest problems. The more daring
Bavarians have sneaked across the border at night for
their pail of water. But it's risky. One hapless woman,
wife of a Bavarian border policeman, was apprehended by
Soviet Zone so-called "People's Police" as she was kneel-
ing by the forbidden well. Her captors drove her six miles
to Soviet headquarters, where she was thoroughly grilled.
She later was released but had to walk back. The Bavarian
side of town now is building its own well to avoid the
risk of more serious consequences befalling its citizens.
I T WAS MID-AFTERNOON when we drove into Moedla-
reuth and the streets on both sides of the frontier were
deserted except for two "People's Police" guarding the
Soviet side of the barrier. Our arrival attracted natives
from both sides of town. On the Soviet side, a score of
men, women and children gathered near the barrier. They
waved and exchanged pleasantries, seeming not to mind
the two rifle-toting "People's Police." Shortly after we
reached the town, the two "People's Police" hurried to a
field telephone and minutes later more than a dozen
"People's Police" reinforcements arrived from various
directions. They clustered in a group 200 feet from where
we stood.
A chicken pecked its way across the churned up border
and just as nonchalantly returned over the "no man's"
strip. Citizens on the Soviet side watched with envy.
We had been at the border about an hour when a warn-
ing whisper was hissed among the Eastern onlookers that
"the Russians are coming." Frantic mothers on the eastern
side of the border grabbed their offspring and together
with their menfolk fled into their houses. Within seconds
the Soviet part of Moedlareuth was deserted except for
the gaping "People's Police." On the Bavarian side of
town, the citizens remained unperturbed. They smiled,
joked and seemed to say, "Gosh, ain't freedom wonderful."
A cloud of dust rose from the nearby hill where the
Russian soldiers reportedly were on guard. The dust
cloud moved rapidly closer and then from it emerged a
battered German-army "jeep" of World War II vintage.
The lumbering vehicle, manned by two uniformed
"People's Police," rumbled over the dirt road toward us
and then about 25 feet away it followed the road which
runs parallel to the zonal boundary. The vehicle skidded
to a stop by the group of "People's Police," but nothing
more happened. The border guards continued to stare at
us until we finally departed.*
M OEDLAREUTHI IS JUST ONE of many towns strad-
dling the zonal border which have been halved by
the Soviets' zonal policy. At towns lying partly in Ba-
varia and partly in Czechoslovakia, Communist officials
have created a barren no-man's buffer corridor by de-
* Ten minutes after the correspondents departed, a detail of ap-
proximatety 50 armed Russian soldiers arrived at the border town but
there was no incident.
JUNE 195t


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