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Information bulletin
(June 1951)

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


Page 9


niolishing houses on their side of the frontier. The un-
fot lunate occupants were obliged to find shelter elsewhere.
RPesident Officer Keen pointed to border police statistics
to show how ineffective the Communist zonal policy is.
The illegal border traffic is one-sided all along the Iron
Coitain frontier, with many times more Easterners seek-
in(r to enter the western zones of Germany.
FI'he Easterners," the resident officer pointed out, "risk
denth, slave labor or other primitive forms of punish-
mnent to escape to the West. Many of them bring stories
whie h would make your hair curl. Still others, with
frinl lies in the East whom they don't dare desert through
fe ln of Soviet reprisals, slip across the border merely to
visit relatives and friends, to get a square meal or to
put r( ise other necessities of life unavailable or beyond
rea h of their pocketbooks in the Soviet Zone."
NMi. Keen was quick to admit that the people living in
tIhe I [of area, as in other border counties, have their prob-
lene,-mainly housing, unemployment, a steady influx
of lo( gees, the flight of industry westward, the acquire-
Inc-t of needed raw materials for the border area's mani-
fold industries, and new markets for the finished goods.
-Beoing human," he said, "many of the citizens comn-
Pllen -some probably too much. But on the whole the
people seem thankful they are free and have been given
the opportunity, mainly throughAmerican financial aid, to
het ( i their living conditions. TheMarshallPlanwas a big
fClaot in restoring self-confidence. It helped show them
deniocracy is not just talk, but cooperative action."
W ITILE MANY BAVARIANS complain of the drain on
their economy from the refugees, some are well
aware of the contributions these refugees have made in
bhinging new industries to their area. The Neuerer porce-
lain factory in Hof is a good example. This world-famous
ii  1951
concern, one of many border factories visited by the
correspondents, formerly was located in Czechoslovakia.
It moved west and in addition to providing employment
for hundreds of Hof workers, it is now earning much-
needed dollars for the West German economy by export-
ing the bulk of its products to the United States.
The correspondents visited three Bavarian border areas
--Hof, Coburg and Passau-and in each there was one
postwar problem most frequently voiced. Creation of the
Iron Curtain along the border had caused a major trade
dislocation, since in normal times the bulk of commercial
relations these areas had were with the East. Coal and
other raw materials had been obtained cheaply from
nearby Czechoslovakia and other countries now behind
the Iron Curtain. And the finished products formerly were
marketed in the East.
Today, except for authorized crossing-points, roads and
railroad lines connecting Bavaria with her eastern markets
have been blocked off at the border. Consequently, manu-
facturers have had to turn west - getting coal from the
more distant Ruhr and seeking markets in far-off western
European countries and the United States.
HANS PETER THOMSEN of Madison, Wis., resident
officer in the counties of Coburg and Neustadt since
last August, said this problem is especially acute in Co-
burg, which jets peninsula-like into the Soviet Zone. The
county is rimmed by the Iron Curtain on the west, north
and east, forcing traffic to follow a 90-degree route be-
tween Coburg and western Europe.
It greatly increases the operating costs of Coburg's
manufacturers, making it difficult for the area'sbusinesses,
which comprise small industrial enterprises producing
mainly toys, ceramics, chinaware, furniture, electric
cables and Christmas tree ornaments, and 5,000 small
INFORMATION BULLETIN
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