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The voices of Europe Milton Mayer American author and lecturer broadcaster and professor in the Institute of Social Research from Frankfurt University has been recording the voices of Europeans who are alive and sensitive to the conditions that surround them. Here is Milton Mayer in the terribly bombed section of Berlin known as Crites Berry. One sees blocks and blocks. It's a temptation to say Miles and miles of broken walls mortar plaster glass rubble of every kind one sees seven years after the war are piles and piles of neatly stacked bricks to be used again for building behind one of these piles of bricks a pile on mortared but used never to last as a coal
shed. It stands the townhall of the Crites barracks section of Berlin. Here in the Town Hall of Crites bared in the chair of the Burgermeister Our mayor of barely in crowd spared sits a man named Delhi crest mine. Billy Cressman was born in Berlin in 1970 the son of a tool maker in 1922. He joined the youth organization of the Social Democratic party in Berlin and became a trade unionist. A printer by trade. In September 1933 he left Berlin and Germany. And then
illegally he was in Czechoslovakia Austria Switzerland France Spain Italy Holland Belgium and Denmark. We're looking at everything from furniture mover to tutor of backward children and working all the time against Nazi ism and fascism. He was finally as a refugee sent to Czechoslovakia just before Hitler came and then he went to Poland just before the war and then to Sweden to Norway finally to England where he began work as a demolition worker during the war. And in 1946 was a factory manager. But in 1947 Billie Cressman came home to Berlin not as a public official not even with a job just a man coming home. He
became head of the Berlin economics division at the time when the four sectors of the city were still united under the occupation powers and in 1949 he became Burgermeister of barely in Croyde spared Herr Burgomeister. What is the way out of all this for Germany. May I put it in another way. What is not the way out of it. What we are troubled about is that we talk about false about arms about the code or the hot war but a way out of eat must be for Germany and even for our spareness. Then you'd better if we talk about a new spirit. I mean that we think about three party systems we have in Germany
and the Weimar Republic. If we thought that we can fight for the human kind with the two parties that's one of our trouble. And when I talk about a new spirit I mean that it is necessary that we own free to be as a human being as an individual individualist. S Man to man woman to woman just to be outside of the pressure of thinking of a party line. The other other trouble with out is that we haven't been educated or democratic people. But I my theory that we even didn't know what it means to be a good
Democrat or to think as a Democrat. What I want to talk about it is that the democracy that we in our history just started 918 to be a country between Europe States and that we haven't had time enough to be good democrats. Their way of nationalism in Germany after 33 has taught us a lesson that we have to get over just to thing as a German to try to get a European way of thinking and teach the people that over our border other people are living and that we think that a
united Europe and with an an united Europe not only America. I think of all the other countries that we have to get together. Europe and the United States have to become a partnership. We have to learn that not only US European or US American. I think it's good to be on our own way. I'm not talking about read music. It's not good only to talk about economic aid or military help. Of course all of that is necessary but the picture Germany and Europe has received
from the American after the war was not a beautiful one. Herr Burgomeister us spoken here. Quite freely about what is wrong with Germany and the Germans. Your own country and your own countrymen. I want to ask you what is wrong with America and the Americans. What in one word is the way out for America too. I hope you are not misunderstand me. May I say that as a friend of America and just ask a European that you Americans have won the war but lost the peace. And how Herr Burgomeister in Europe view Have we lost the peace. It's very difficult to answer. But if I
remember and I think from my point of view and from my past I have the right to speak openly. You see years ago you hated John many years ago. You would even did know where the cities of Europe you were just far away. You are a very big country. Where is all the beauty with all of the Reds. But you never. Taking the time even your scoots to teach the children just over the border are very big country to see as a European state. What would have become of the art if you would have seen your own arrows even 940. How could it
be in another state of affairs as we see it today. You see that if we talk about what's a way out for your country then I only can say that if you ask the German people today to re arm me again let me see that a Democratic man that I just can't understand. There must be another way out of it to prepare another war. I know you see even as a politician that the time could come that we have to deal with this in another way. But before we do that it is nested necessary to get a game around the table and talk and talk again. Even if we lose some time but we gain and we win the confidence of the people.
I know that if we talk about the way out of it I mean that the democratic countries of Europe and the United States should go into partnership. I mean really a partnership that you just can't take Europe only from the business point of view. You have to think that if there's a fair dealing between countries then I must say that the economic system of your country or any other this this kind of partnership only from the economic point of view must lead to another myth understanding. What we try in Europe at present to get the countries together and have an economic system for Europe. You see even here they are we are in trouble again because Germany and France and Netherlands
and and Italy and auction block and so on. They are in it but to big countries as Great Britain they are standing outside. Do you just stay now on the part. If I may put it that way then the trouble we had in Europe and even Germany in every country there is the same danger. Herr Burgomeister if you had two or three suggestions to make to us all specific suggestions. For a way out what would that be. If I may put it where its temper gets the common people together it was the one that would be one. So I guess you see if the big politicians come from America to Europe or from Europe to America I always have the feeling they're meeting some
representatives. But hey sometimes as I see it if they don't get together with the people they are just the so called leadership and I tell you quite frankly if I were here they were our leader in drum corps. We were there. I'm just afraid of what could happen again. It is necessary that the leading politicians. Just get free in their own government to be then the representatives of your part of their parties that they have to learn that the human meant kind of only can be saved if you se American tried to understand
that our tribe are in Europe. I have to put it Far East or South Africa or trader and so on that we can't think any more as nationalists just as a human race who has to try to find a way out in this twentieth century. Thank you I have a brother my sister the Minister for Social Affairs of the state and city of Berlin is Senator Autobahn Senator Baucus was a trade unionist and an official of the International Labor Office of the League of Nations. He left Germany in 1933 returning in 1940 from Switzerland to engage in underground work against the Nazi regime which he continued when he went to France and then returned to Germany in 1905. Here is Milton Mayer to interview Senator Autobots.
Senator Boxer one question I want to ask you most. After a few days visit here in Berlin is whether or not I am right when I say that Berlin seems to me to be a kind of monster something which isn't real and which can't go on forever. Am I right or wrong about that. Well it's rather difficult to on that this question with yes or no. We fought. Our situations in nineteen hundred and forty five and seven years after the end of the War Berlin there's a divided city and best from Berlin. Whether it's to point to millions of inhabitants is an island of
freedom and democracy behind the Iron Curtain. And you may understand that this means a very very difficult situation. We started a political organisation in 1945 together with the four powers of occupation. And you know that in the course of these years there was a permanent and increasing disagreement between the occupying forces and especially between divest on Ally and the Soviets. And this was one. It's one of the reasons why we are in a very difficult situation in Bahrain. The other reason is the fact that BERLIJN has
been. Occupied first by the Soviets and building an industrial has been nearly completely dismantled at least at 80 percent compared to the territory of the Republic of the boon it means much more than this territory where the dismantling might reach the figure of 25 percent. To what extent has there been industrial recovery what is your production figure now. Well it compared to nineteen hundred forty five restart up from 8 percent. But that option compared to nineteen hundred thirty six. And we have the age now the capacity of 50 persons of nineteen hundred thirty six. This is a very big shock Szish but
compared with the economy of the economy off the territory of the blunt. We are behind considerably behind the western Germany. There's the same figure investment Germany is about 100 and 40 per cent of production compared to the production of nineteen hundred and thirty six. And Senator by how much unemployment actually unemployment is there in Berlin you have at present 300000 nearly 300000 unemployed out of 2 million 200000 people living here. Yes. And how are your two million two hundred thousand people living. Well perhaps I can give you some interesting and even striking figures. From the two million from two point two million inhabitants of
Western Berlin nearly one million is living partly or completely permanently off for a time on social insurance pensions or public assistance. And we have a burden of nearly 1 million of monarchs to expend for these proposals. I can tell you though that we have decided to 300000 unemployed. We have two hundred and ninety thousand involve victims with their family and we have one hundred and fifty thousand extra police. These are people coming driven out from the former German territories now under Soviet or Polish administration not to administration. This means
people not coming from the Soviet occupied zone rep from the part of Germany east of there or don't write a line and we have about 90 thousand people living on public assistance. And a plant of the 150000 ex police we got since the division of the shoe deal Berlin. About nearly 300000. But if you jis from the Soviet occupied stone from the Soviet sector of Berlin. Senator Boxer what is the living standard of the half of the population of West fertile land which is maintaining itself either on social insurance pensions or on public assistance. Well I may say in spite of the fact that we do all we can compare
to American measures. This part of the population is on a starving standout in any case the living standard is beyond the existence minimum. Well now all in all Senator it sounds to me as if my suspicion is confirmed by your statistics namely that Berlin is at least economically a monstrosity which cannot be maintained indefinitely in its present condition. I don't think so because you know we get for the moment of help from the Republic off the boom by the so called Nord opera about the five hundred and fifty billions all but true to the proposals and we have got a very very valuable help by the Marshall Plan aid the have got
nearly 1 million of monarchs for investment and the fact that we have increased our production from a person to 50 person shows that this increase has been a real increase and a real economic improvement and we are quite sure that we can continue to improve our economic situation. Well let's look at this so-called no talk for a moment Senator Boxer because I'm not sure that very many Americans know about it. I do having been in Germany for a bit. Every letter which is sent from any place in West Germany except Berlin itself carries a two pfennig stamp for the relief or the assistance of Berlin and this to find a stamp attached to every letter sent anywhere in West Germany
brings in. How many marks a year. Well it brings in about 600 millions of monks. That's about it. That's about 150 million dollars a year. Now this support of the city of Berlin is coming from the rest of West Germany where economic conditions are not all at they might be and constitutes if not a drain on the rest of the people of West Germany certainly a sort of nuisance to a lot of them. Berlin let me ask you a question on this point Senator Byrd Lindh has never been popular among the Germans has it. Yes and no burden. Especially in the time of the Kaiser II the Capitol not only of Germany but also of Prussia but
BERLIJN Was it has to become now a kind of symbol for the fight of freedom and democracy and I think it is spiritually wrote and I hope also in America the Berlin position is quite different from that what Berlin has been during the height of eye or during the time of Hitler. And there is no doubt that all jewel in this dome Germany in Berlin has not been very popular and if people have to pay that's already a nice and bought the the understanding for Berlin this growing this better invest in Germany because they know people know now that without the petition and the
maintaining of the position of Berlin the German unity will be impossible. Senator Barr one last question. How in your own personal view did the in power of both the situation of Berlin come about. What were the mistakes that were made and by whom and what is the real solution. Well. I must say very frankly that if we hadn't had Hitler in Germany Berlin never would have come in the position that we must confess. But there is no doubt that later on also by their allies there have been very big mistakes and I think these mistakes started all that in that our blood in Tehran and Europe and later on in Potsdam.
But really got nice depth at the beginning of the evil there was Hitler and Soviet happen to me and their reproaches to those people who had to deal with the consequences of this situation but on the other hand there is no doubt that an allied administration of Berlin and of Germany did quite a lot of mistakes especially when we consider the situation of today with the situation of 945. I may tell you an example of the German you the German you is very very critical. And when they became it UK did by the Allies they accepted that for example young Germans. Never were two were again. And they are very they're
rather surprised to see after a few will yield their good to take the arms again and they are very critical because they kind of and of then that principle can change so quickly. On the other hand I think that perhaps that your partners are saying the situation is not quite understood in the United States. The United States. General generally the problem a capitalistic country. But I feel and we feel that this capitalism is quite different from the capitalism we have still in Germany and in the whole of Europe especially one of the on the continent. This means a very old fashioned capitalism of 19th
century and sometimes American administrators don't understand and see the difference between their own Proctors of capitalism and our old fashioned capitalism of the 19th century. And the burning situation might give you an example may give you an example. What we have to do it might it be. It is certainly a marvel that a city like BERLIJN with the social situation I explain to you is so strongly resisting the communist. And there is no doubt that the government must understand that freedom in Germany and this patiently in Berlin can only maintain if there is real social justice on the base on the basis of this liberty.
Voices of Europe
Willy Kressman and Senator Bach
Producing Organization
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Interviews with Willy Kressman and Otto Bach, two German politicians.
Other 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
Labor and laboring classes--Germany
Media type
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Interviewee: Kressman, Willy
Interviewee: Bach, Otto
Interviewer: Mayer, Milton, 1908-1986
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 52-37-46 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:15
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Chicago: “Voices of Europe; Willy Kressman and Senator Bach,” 1953-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 19, 2022,
MLA: “Voices of Europe; Willy Kressman and Senator Bach.” 1953-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 19, 2022. <>.
APA: Voices of Europe; Willy Kressman and Senator Bach. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from