Caldwell, W. J.
Touring the border, pp. -11 PDF (3.3 MB)
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 9
As a work of the United States government, this material is in the public domain.| For information on re-use see: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/Copyright