Be r l in . It is three o’clock on a cold, clear winter after noon, and we are driving down the Han- nover-Berlin autobahn toward the city of Berlin. This far north, night falls very early in winter. Already, at three, a red-gold sun is rolling close to the horizon, shadows are lengthening across^ the brown fields, and we are a little worried about crossing the Russian-occupied zone of Germany after dark. That feeling of apprehension stirs memories of a long time ago, when I used to drive this highway once or twice a month, and it sets me to questioning myself. Why am I not taking the easy way into Berlin, flying in via Air France from Frankfurt? Why am I stubbornly going back over the old, well-traveled land route whose every twist and turn I know by heart? I tell myself that it is because Berlin can be com prehended only against the somber background of its Communist hinterland. And this is true. But the subjective reason is truer. Like a sleep walker, groping unconsciously along a familiar corridor, I am instinctively returning to Berlin the way I first came to it at the end of the war, over this same highway through Russian-occu pied territory. Then I drove alone, in an open Army jeep. Now, with two other journalists, I travel in a bit more style, in a German Mercedes. Behind us, still touched by the sun, the beau tifully tended four-lane highways of West Ger many, with their gleaming white service sta tions, cloverleaf overpasses and inviting road side inns, fall away to the west. Behind us, the last western town, the Allied check-point town of Helmstedt, disappears in its smoky valley. In front of us, 110 miles to the east, waits Berlin. But now we brake to a stop and pull over to the side of the road. For immediately in front of us, barring the highway, lies the potential imple ment of the Soviets’ recent threats to a free Berlin—two peppermint-striped poles, guarded by uniformed members of the East German Volkspolizei, or People’s Police. The name of this border-control point is Marienborn or, as the Germans call it, Mari- enborn-on-the-Iron-Curtain. An insignificant little village, it, too, is as familiar as a somnam bulist’s dream. Overhead, the flag o f postwar Germany and the red hammer (Continued on Page 75) West Berlin: Above is the Kurfurstendamm, the Broadway o f the free zone and a symbol o f amazing recovery’. East Berlin: The barren field below, once the site o f Hitler’s offices, typifies this sector’ s desolation. The Walter Lucke family as they look today. Like most West Berliners, they have prospered since the author first knew them in the grim times after V-E Day. Despite the city’ s uncertain future, West Berlin enjoys a lavish and spirited night life. The dancers below are guests at a benefit ball given last month.
1959_02_28--077_SP The Squeeze is on Berlin
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