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Voices of Europe in today's recorded interview Milton Mayer speaks with a young girl not so very long ago in the Huntelaar Ault Meyer who is 18 years old arrived in the west sector of Berlin from the Russian zone of Germany the same day Hana Laura arrived. Perhaps one thousand other Germans from the east zone appeared in Berlin and more or less this number arrive every day in the week. I don't Laura is one of four daughters of a professional army officer a colonel in the German army who since the end of the war has been a prisoner in the Soviet Union. Ana Laura's three sisters had all fled from the east zone before her. One is in America two in the West German city of Hamburg. Here is Milton Mayer. I don't know where you tell us. Why you left the Russian zone. I had to flee from the Russian zone because as a member of the FDR. So Communists use are going to say. I rode with my group.
Those are usually against us conscript enough young people into a communist police forces. So the rector of my Ficht really fired me from my job. And now me said starts a shite teams would gag me. Now they start singing rights things and just what the Security Police say security police would get me. And so you decided that you had to leave. Did you wish to leave. The Russian zone earlier. Or were you happy there. I wish to leave the Soviet But I can't think of my mother. Now too. And you had to stay and I had to stay by my mother. But when you were told that the security police were coming
after you you decided to leave and how fast did you go did you go very suddenly and how did you come into West Berlin. I my dear good it do me one day before and then I go to the US. There's a train now. You took the train from the town you live in to East Berlin and that is to the Soviet sector of Berlin. How much baggage did you have. I have only I had only I didn't see that case was that all of your belongings or did you leave some at home. I have. I believe my dad who is very much like it.
And why didn't you take more with you. If I if I would take more the police would ask me. Where I was about I wish to go. You mean if you had taken more. The police in your hometown know you're in the East and East Berlin but you had a small suitcase and you got off the railroad station where well and just run home in the in the east railroad station in Berlin and then what could you do. And then I affirms a station I took so I spun just a minute had a lot of the S-Bahn that's what we call in English the elevated and saying For ease the station I took an elevated elevated and. And did I come to rest and you had no trouble
coming to West Berlin. I had no trouble to come to the US. And now your mother is left all alone at home in the east. Is she safe there on ARAA. But I knew that you know a CC here you guys know my mother isn't safe. If so please know that i DO YOU INVEST. My mother will be unpopular but won't the police find out that you have gone. I don't know my mother. What will your mother tell them do your friends know you have gone do they know where you have gone. No. Nobody knows except your mother except you. And what will she tell the police. I don't know what to do.
But you certainly will not tell them that you have gone to the west. And how does your mother live in this town. How does she now that you are not there to earn money for her. How does she get her living. My sister saying America's coffee and my mother south the coffee Russians. And this is how she gets her money to live. Yes. Does she get any money as a pension for your father. Nobody. Does she get any money from the East Zone government for a pension for herself. No money no money. And did you know Laura. Did you want to come to the west zone before this resolution happened. Or did you were you satisfied to stay in the east always until you got into trouble.
I was in my factory I was. Living there you were at Larry Ling Apprentice I was apprentice. And I wish I would my in my factory and then I was still dizzy. So that's what kind of work were you doing. Iraq in a lover I never thought I'd tell you. The laboratory the fraternity. And why did you want to come to the west. Even before you got into trouble. Is it really very bad and living in the east. I don't live in the US so it is much better. So why how how is the life better in the US. So your kind by want you.
And not so much. So my comment is very well what so what's wrong with having so many communists around. I mean just how does this make life bad. It's like in the Russia. So and it's a lush life and what is this life like what don't you like about it. You can't see any of the lot. Feel meaning. But then this was also true under the Nazis you lived under the Nazis too. Yes about when I lived under the Nazis. I was a children and I was a child and I don't know how it was. Does your mother think that it is worse under the communists than it was under the Nazis. My mother wasn't a Nazi and you know but she
lived in Germany during the Nazi time does she think it is worse under the communists or under the Nazis. She said it was better under the Nazis. Why in this time we had a better life because my father was that and doing that money. So I now I don't know Lara. Are there other people in the town who in your town who would like to come to the west. I believe any anybody push to come to the west so and only a little she will be a small part of the people. Only a small small part of the people wish to. True to live in the east. So that
would be day and and to fund the other members of the Communist Party and the office holders that Audi's or the other members of the Communist Party and C office holders. Yes and where do you want to go now. Where would you like to go. Do you wish to stay in the western Germany. I wish to go to Hamburg but I don't know if I can. I don't know. I kind looks like you don't know if you can find work there. In fact so you stay in the refugee camp until you find work. Is that right. Yes and you get in the refugee camp you get your what do you get in the refugee camp.
What do they give you mean you. How are you taken care of in the refugee camp. So give me gives me food and clothes this. Then you must stay there until you can find work. But they will not send you back to the east. And would your mother like to come to the west too. Or does she want to stay in her home. Yes my mother should come visit us. Does she hope that your father will be released from Russia. Yes you said my father. But its the meaning that no prisoner convict him and but if if your father is in Russia as a prisoner and if your mother came over to the west then the Russians would not let your
father come back would they. And so does she wish them to stay in the East Zone till my father comes. Until your father comes home thank you very much Ana Lara. And now Milton Mayer interviews a school teacher somewhere in Germany. I am sitting across a table from Fritz Schneider an elementary school teacher in the Russian Zalman here Schneider was born in a town of socialites in touring in the Russian in what is now the Russian's own the son of a metal worker who did not belong to any political party. Here Schneider is now 21 years old.
Before you became a teacher you had to go to university in the Russian zone of Germany Did You Know That. Yes. How did you happen to go to university in 1950. I pass the final examination in a secondary school and after CIS and to university there is a university and it was easy to me for sound of work or did it was not easy and it is not one thing to anybody who is whose father is a man. Did you belong to any political groups when you were in high school.
Yes we were obliged to belong to the FBI the Communist Youth Organization and I myself belong to one Christian organization. Had you belong to any political organization in school before the end of the war. Oh yes we all belong to us. So quality that's the name of the organization now. What was it your what was your ambition to study and to become when you entered the University of Vienna in 1950. I want to study English and French but say they didn't give me a possibility to do ISS. So the dean told me said well no possibilities for me and he told me it would be the best to study the Russian language and so you
did. Yes I did. You majored in Russian. Did you. Belong to any organizations. And you know I belong to the above mentioned f the not so community you would use organization to a Christian organization. But since it was not pleasant to see the communists say you forced me to resign resign and I had not money much time to take part in the meetings of the Christian organisation and so you resigned from the Christian organisation. Yes. What were you studying to
be. What profession were you studying to take. I wanted to become a teacher and you became one. Now tell me Herr Schneider was it necessary for you to become a communist before you could become a teacher. Oh yes that is all so teachers must be communist. But here in the Soviet Zone it was a bloody easy to me to become a Russian teacher. But there's a great need for Russian teachers as. Well. Did you where you graduated from you know before you became a teacher. I had to pass to an examination about this and she often gets to visit shop and that would be we would call a political scientist science yes.
And did you pass the examination. I did not pass the examination because I am no communist and say I told it to me a while before and frankly said I had not passed the examination because I am no communist and so you left the university without graduating but you did get a job as a teacher of Russian. Yes in an elementary school. Yes in elementary school in a small country village in a village. And who are your students what grades do you teach Russian too. What classes do you teach in classes with boys and girls. About 11 to 12 years.
And how many students do you have. Pupils do you have in your class. On the average about a 40 to 43. And how many of the students in each grade in each class. How many of them choose to study Russian. It's a must take is Russian. It is we say compulsory compulsory Yes. And what other subjects or first do the do the children enjoy taking Russian Oh no they do not enjoy to take Russian so their parents against Russian. And against the Russian language in school and say always tell the children sensei. Yes it's a must not learn this language.
And this makes it a little difficult for you to teach Russian. Yes it's very difficult for us tonight or then I suppose besides Russian The children have German mathematics. Yes mathematics geography history biology. Yes what else. And painting and thinking about squid and that is to say the political science of today is that means. All these things that happens in the last week must be discussed in one hour with the trillions and are the teachers of Gagan start calling and getting invited to come and are they communists.
To say often are Communists and the master of the office so when school. Is forced to take as a teacher of being about school and only sees teachers who are communists but I myself thought about school and I am no communist but it is easy where it's very difficult to to me it had been difficult to me to show the pupils that I am myself no communist and said I not of the same opinion as communists and so her Schnieder in teaching this compulsory subject of Gagan of art or day to day politics. You have to teach as if you were a communist.
Yes and are the teachers in the school generally communists. Oh no. I may say about 80 percent of all the teachers in assist in school zones are so with their own no communists. But it's a must be so I must speak as a communist and do all of these things the Communist want to be done. Well dower you speak of 80 percent of the teachers in the Soviet Zone How about in your own village school. Here's the percentage the same 80 percent are not communists. My own school. Oh yes it is same and are the teachers of Gagan Veitch are they told what to teach or are they allowed to teach as they want to. Oh and there is even a plan of the plans they have to teach.
All of this. All of the subjects so Communists take for the most Britons important. Yes and heart of the children react to Gagan farts condo. So they do not like to see this subject and say demand. So your argument is they are arguing about how do they get information or facts or fairy grounds they get their informations by Weston What are your stations and so most arguments they get by various that the American radio station in Berlin. Yes and this is the basis for this information they get from the Western radio is the basis of their arguing with the teachers. Yes.
Do the does the government permit the people to listen to the Western radio. The government. Doesn't like this but it is not so big. Not yet and how about Western newspapers. No Western newspapers are forbidden and so only us and the other western West German but I do your stations. The only information. The bases. Yes. And now finally here Schneider. The people in the village in which you are teaching the farmers and the workers what do they think of communism in Russian occupied Germany. So far most and so one thing people say
they were nothing like communists before they say this if I must say that the communists will take away property and this farm and the wedding band. You know what a bad condition. Well now Percentage wise Herr Schneider. What percentage of the people would you say were for communism and against communism in the village where you were teaching. I may say the thought of communism is only only 10 to 15 per cent and the other the other US against communism. And if this situation continues for another 10 years how many of the people will be against communism.
If the communist remain in control I believe about 90 per cent will be against communism. You mean will still be against communism. But Herr Schneider where 90 percent of the people against Naziism. Oh no. About I believe about 50 per cent were in in my native town where four navies and by the same have trained opinion and now say their greatest part of the Nazis against communism. The greatest part of the Nazis are against communists. Yes well we always knew that. But what about the rest of the population as a whole. Or are they against communism. What I'm trying to ask you here Schneider is this. Put it this way. Do the
people of this village today prefer Nazi ism to communism. Oh hear say say Oh I say it had been better under the Nazis but under us are communists. Yeah and what proportion of the people in the village would you say believe in democracy. I believe the greatest. Of the population is for democracy. Do they really understand what democracy means. He said I don't exactly know but I hope they know what they are if them and democracy in the Western countries of Europe say listen to the programmes of radio stations and say experience. All the best
from the six countries. Dear Schneider what would you say as a schoolteacher in the Russian zone of Germany what would you say that the Western countries should do. I believe it is the best when the Western countries were strengthen and. On the other side it would be the best. To improve the social base of people. That is the Western powers must have strength and also. Improve the. Did you say the social relations of their own people or what. Let's let's try that again. What should the people and the nations of the West do in your opinion here Schneider.
On Iran who say it should improve the social situation of the people and and. In the other half say sure. And they say and by sis strengthens their military power. And why should they improve the social relations of the people. Four by four buses. So working class will not come into the influence of the communist. And this is I may say. Will be the best to fight against communism. Thank you very much for Schneider. This recorded program has been made possible under a grant from the fund for adult education an
independent organization established by the Ford Foundation. These programs are prepared and distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This program was introduced by Norman McKee and this is the end network.
Voices of Europe
Hannelore Altmeier and Fritz Schneider
Producing Organization
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Interviews with Hannelore Altmeier and Fritz Schneider, two young Germans. The primary topic is life in East Germany and how it relates to West Germany.
Series Description
Interviews with noted Europeans on a variety of subjects, conducted by Milton Mayer, American author and broadcaster, lecturer and professor in the Institute of Social Research at Frankfurt University.
Broadcast Date
Global Affairs
Media type
Embed Code
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Interviewee: Altmeier, Hennelore
Interviewee: Schneider, Fritz
Interviewer: Mayer, Milton, 1908-1986
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 52-37-57 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:15
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Chicago: “Voices of Europe; Hannelore Altmeier and Fritz Schneider,” 1953-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 13, 2024,
MLA: “Voices of Europe; Hannelore Altmeier and Fritz Schneider.” 1953-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 13, 2024. <>.
APA: Voices of Europe; Hannelore Altmeier and Fritz Schneider. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from