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