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Herr Schmidt What do you do and how did you come to be where you are and what do you think about it. Yes I am. I am a professor of foreign languages and I have been an American prisoner. I was dismissed from office in the east and as soon as the communists know that I was of this quality there and 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 tragedy and dilemma of the conditions that surround them. People who speak directly and candidly of their own feelings and their own aspirations. Not all of these voices agree. And today we are to hear two opposing views of conditions between East and West Germany here recorded in Berlin is Milton Mayer the man I am interviewing now.
In West Berlin I met about an hour ago on the streets of East Berlin in the communist sector of the city. I was asking directions and here was somebody who seemed to detect that I was an American because my German was so bad and he answered me in English. I do not know his name or his occupation or anything else about him except that he is a German who lives in the communist sector of the city of Berlin. I'm going to call him Herr Schmidt and I'm going to ask him Herr Schmidt What do you do. And how did you come to be where you are and what do you think about it. Yes I am. I am a professor of foreign languages. I have been American prism.
I was dismissed from office in the eastern zone as soon as the communists know that I was of this quality there and I am unemployed to that day. I'm running about in the streets. I don't like to give my service to the Communists and therefore it is very difficult for me to keep up my life and I am a keen observer of things I observe very keenly. The political development and the economic development and so on. And I can only say that in my mind the Americans I am the English and the French perhaps too have not yet experienced the former danger of that of the East. And what is the folding here. Herr Schmidt the for danger is that the
communists in my year after my observing observation are willing to invade Western Europe as a first base of becoming masters of the. They prepare for war. For instance if you observe there the so-called free German youth if I adored you were going to commit with weapons with weapons I'm all like I'm on with all kinds of nasty songs only in the old new text with old melodies and above all the propaganda of the Communists is so low that they say it is not it is not fair if one has been a Nazi. One must only be an enemy of America. America came last fall and that is they're the first base of our victory for the better.
Now Herr Schmidt I suppose now that I know that you are a professor I should call you Professor Schmidt. Well I'm sure your name is natural man is this to say that the Nazis are coming back into public life and as public official in in the east zone of Germany. So that was you have there and the so-called People's pollies in Germany the higher ranks are more and more occupied with ancient Nazis. And do I understand that as you have lived through these last years in the east in the communist zone of Germany your view is that it is the Russians or the Communists who wish to conquer the world. It is not the Russians you know the Russian people is in my opinion after my conviction. A good people that dont like war
as quiet as we do. But it is a bunch of existence you know it is perhaps also an interesting thing to observe that the communists are anti-Semitic. For instance all the Russian officers of the Jewish race are sent back to Russia and they may go also and they have nothing against Riddick So we have slogans for us. Professor Schmidt if you had to make an estimate of the proportion of the Germans in the east zone who support or let's put it this way first through gladly support the present system. Second who tolerate it without liking it. And third who actively oppose it. How would you estimate the proportion.
Yes the proportion is perhaps it is above all the you know which who is more and more are called the communist system you know they they don't they don't know better and know and the churches and the parents have less and less influence upon them. You know the mass of the people. Tara right. And the little group adversity and is this just about the way the proportion is divided in Germany under Nazi ism. No not so much perhaps not so much. So many people are enthused you know as as and they're not just I'm enthused not only perhaps the youth and this is about 25 percent and what is the reason for the enthusiasm for communism far such a system as you have described what is the result of uniforms
marching you know plain and simple and I have a mate say it and so I am adverse or a ship isn't right. Yeah and certainly diversity should be against all the old institutions. We had church discipline and so on. They have their freedom and all of what they use though is a riot. You know the parents have no influence. The peons are even jailed even if they say anything against their children their naughty children. But Professor Schmidt There is a fairly strong feeling here in Berlin and also through the western world that the communists are the Russians as the case may be. I'm not really prepared to make war but that they hope to more or less to chip away at Western civilization. Yeah that's not quite right you know. I think
that the influence they exert upon certain people about all the youth is so great that they really think communism brings new ideas over the road. I'm very sorry to say so right now in your view does it or does it not. It does not of course not I my to understand then that as you see it there is nothing good in communism and there was nothing good in Nazi ism. Is that right. Said his rise. Yes that's right. Professor Schmidt I want you to tell me just a little about your own life and experience without identifying yourself. Yass that's right about my own life yeah. Yes. What shall I tell you a star. I'm living from day to day you know earning my bread with the giving private
lessons and so on and I don't know what is tomorrow you know. And then from time to time I'm going to Berlin to brief that little of the fresh air of freedom. Are you living in the East sector or in the east zone in the east. And happily My family is living there and therefore I am always going back to pay a visit to them for personal reasons you know I'm married since 25 years and you would understand and you have children. Yes I have a child which is who is married and who lives also and yeah I don't have any gas. Now Professor Schmidt were you born in the east part of Germany I'd like a little bit about your past. Where you born you know I know I was born to better them. And how did you find yourself in Eastern Germany and when I feel quiet and happy I say How when did you find yourself in East Berlin in the east zone. How did you get
to the east zone. Yes. How do you happen by by by by my profession you know. I came them you know I have a profile I was Professor of it at that gymnasium you know I give you what we call Germany a public school you know I don't know what anything less would call a public good although I don't know what it was the American called it we would call it a high school and high school yeah. And by virtue of here of your occupation you found yourself in Eastern Germany gas. Were you teaching there all during the Nazi period. No no no I was dismissed from the Nazis because of my address reshipped with that Nazi system. And how did you manage to make your living during that time. During that time I've also had the added I had an office and a translating office and I could make my money with it you know writing and translating office. How many languages do you speak. Professor 5 Professor Schmidt what would you advise the people of the West to do what course should they take what have they done
wrong. How can they do a better job. What would you say. I would say that the free nations ought to make more preparations to be strong and well armed to make war impossible in the future. Them as the only ones be much much stronger then the Bolsheviks. And I'm not good could bins for instance that the English courses of the French do their best to really the best to be ready when the Kremlin should give the the too much then as you see the course of the West. It consists in nothing they requirement the need of the West consists and nothing but becoming stronger gas and and above all are to be convinced of the necessity to give up one's life for all the highest good of mankind for
freedom. And i'm not get convinced that the free nations of the West are you and I are you. But why aren't they convinced me why why do they seem to you to be on ready How do you explain this this for a year of their performance it's a questions of rearmament they make difficulties for instance for places in England you know has really the of the of the Labor Party has refused to give the agreement to the Bonn agreement yesterday which made a very bloody bloody bad impression upon the inhabitants of the eastern zone. No in France and in Italy there seemed to be a large calm in the sparges which exerted a very great influence upon the masses of the people. Of course you have to understand Professor Schmidt that it may quite well be the case that there are many English women French women Americans even a tad Younes who are not ready to fight for Germany after what they
suffered at the hands of the Germans. One cannot fight in our days either for Germany are for America or for England. One can only find far freedom and liberty. There is no other way in the future and does it dangerous so great that if the West does not make the necessary preparations. It will perhaps be too late. Professor Schmidt one last question. As a German a native German who loves his country and loves his home and his people on the one hand and who on the other hand feels as you do that we have to be ready. And more than ready to fight if necessary again another world war. Yeah. Are you prepared to see another war in Germany.
Yes. As for the west the western population I am not so much convinced that they are ready to fight as for instance we in the in these the SO in the zone are you know I think that Western Germans must fight for freedom and liberty. Could I do the same way as the Americans of the English and French and so on. And the people it is no more any difference between us and the people in the east zone the people in your community and your town do they pretty much feel as you do. Yes yes. BILTON mayor has been interviewing a man whom he called Professor Schmidt an unemployed professor of languages in the east zone of Germany. A man who believes that everyone in East Germany is ready to wage war against the communists Nawa somewhere in Germany he interviews a woman whom he is calling from Margarita layman although this is not her real name. For all layman lives outside a small town in the Russian occupied zone of her native land her husband was a pastor for 40 years. He died in 1904 leaving for
a layman with two sons and three daughters all of whom knowledge in western Germany except for one daughter and a son in law who operate a shop in this small town in the eastern zone. For a layman fled from the Russians in 1905 into West Germany. But in one thousand forty eight she went back home and went to work as a clerk in the shop which her daughter and son in law operate. She works nine and a half hours a day for a layman is lame in one leg and walks three quarters of an hour to work every morning and back every night. At the age of 68. Here is Milton Mayer for our layman. I should like to know why. In 1948 you went back to eastern Russian occupied Germany. I hate to talk to us with their husbands at home hollows which should be able to
set you free. It was not easy to build the holes we had five children as a two week already and in the inflation we had lost every money into passing his notes of that amount of money as you know and but one of these daughters went to East Germany too with her husband and their sweet little boy. And you went with them. No. 45 I went alone to this Germany and my daughters stood still. Yes in the East Indies. Yes yes what I want to know a proud layman is why did you go back to the east in 1948 Mike to talk to us. Were there for me and with with all our there how my how and that that could do here something in a list
Germany was in Libya and had to do enough. And that's nothing for me I like but to do it with them. And so you went back even though you had fled from the east in 45 years. You wanted to go back with us. And one of your daughters has since left for the West. Yes. Now authorities and why do you remain in East Germany. For our layman and are you satisfied here. Yes I am satisfied. Why should I not be. I have a very ideal son in law and a daughter idea I haven't heard of or don't have my home and I think it just if persons. If not everybody is going away
from the west. You missed some persons who have perhaps a little influence quite a quite a big influence upon us that these same. See it's not to say I don't know if I express a sense that a PLB. I think so but when you said that you hoped that you thought that everybody should not go away from the west. I think you meant everybody should not go away from the east or the east. Oh yes I did. Especially I think of the Mideast scenes of the doctors. I am not quite satisfied that so many men need us when away to the list even if it was not the political reasons because he feels the who are just that and it won't work that way. That's right
and in their way is the assumed one. Although nearly that I have not to do and and we need so much good Dr S.. But for our layman you are living under a communist dictatorship. Oh yes and how do you feel about such a way of living. I should think you would be dissatisfied because of that. Yes when you asked me about this then I should say it is the SMRT of down look this which only day and night amply hangs above everybody in the US and that makes us they and we and we have the feeling we have no future we don't know what to be tomorrow.
And still you wish to remain. Oh yes I wish to state two of my children. Would you like my coming to them India in the West. But I will we mean for our laymen do you find communism. Worse than Naziism or not as bad I think it's quite a scene. I think that nationalism would be is how it's bocce least it's no feat. If it had remained. If it had remained so it is yes. And now a hard question for a layman. Do you find anything good in what the communists call their new order. Yes I do one thing it is the Huli of
scripture. Feeling and so on now await the purity of script cure when we say Scripture we mean the holy but I don't know nor this I won't say excuse me. How do us save the purity of the written word. The purity of journalism Priano isn't so it is. Yes so it is skew Smoot. Yes yes so it is you or only need to come from one station to the other woman one is raised the other is in the wrist station in the queue us to your say so in the US in the places where they sell newspapers and magazines you see very bad things always naked to women and sex things you never see for such things in the east and one must be just enough to see that it's better than in the West that is the the the more
allopathy less when in reality it is a better one than in the West. I aver to compare it to litter. Now for our women. Apart from that and I think that's something that is a surprise to many of us Americans that the Communists with so much evil in their appearance oppose it in their behavior should have a higher public morality. Yes these I often see and I see again for our layman how many of the people of your acquaintance. And this is in a small community where you have lived for many many years. How many of the people of your acquaintance are hoping that there will be a war to liberate them from the
Communists. I don't do anybody no. But do you wish the hopes of well we have an empty string. No we don't know what we should have hope. We hope it shaded beat down that nobody of my acquaintances things hopes of well would you know here is a very hard choice. The choice that we too I suppose have in America. Would you say that you and people of your acquaintance would rather go on living as they are under a dictatorship under a tyranny than have another war. Well there is no question of that. I know my acquaintance and all the people I have to do with I think he's a good choice
but she's from the numbers from who or how. I under no no no no I understand proud layman. What is your own hope for us all. What way out is there for you for me for all of mankind. I speak as a German and think my hope and of all these who love our gentle need so if the key is the all will hope that it should be together again in then there is a match to be that but it must be not under the bushes and in the meanwhile. If things must go on as they are how are people to live with what spirit do you keep growing. Do you with what spirit do you keep happy you say you are a happy person.
I mean the person because I was basically my children to pick the best all of the heat off for that year and there's always something to be thought isn't it. I think so. And then if you are interested in groups in a way your music also you can meet your life live live live a live event you can make it in que me. Many hit the pause especially with the family that just sit there think that if the bushing piece moves. If it exceeds in dividing the family that is needed is the US. It can do for us. But do you understand. Yes it takes the children wanted us in the end there isn't one can do. Goddamned family did. Real men love their family.
And when these needs future be the I pick. But this has happened to you and I need not personally. Yes with me it was some years it was not a very big No I mean not just an idiot but intellectually and politically. Ah so you mean the fact that you are separated from your two sons and two daughters who live in the West. The fact that you are separated from them physically and you cannot see them is not what you mean by this division. No I mean the pointed to kill the children who formed the mother when just six weeks. I would end the hour then look in a house where then I would have to eat it. They would treat it but the ass ate it. Wheat is approaching nice was once but there shall be no more family through hearings and I don't know
if you understand but if so they're important in the piece. No you need the earth we can do with us. I need to do it right. And as I understand you mean that it divides the family not his equally wrong. No that's not even doing that. But spiritually one from another. Yes and but even this you would prefer to war even less even the US. Even There's no room for robot research Campbell and I think some would think it would be one is that the program you have just heard has been made possible under a grant from the fund for adulthood to cation an independent organization established by the Ford Foundation. These programs are prepared and distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters in the interest of better international understanding. This program was introduced by Norman
McKeon This is the end taped network.
Voices of Europe
"Prof. Schmidt" and "Frau Margarete Lehman"
Producing Organization
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Interviews with the pseudonymous "Professor Schmidt" and Margarete Lehman, two Germans each from a different side of the divide in 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: Lehmann, Margarete
Interviewer: Mayer, Milton, 1908-1986
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 52-37-34 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:04
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Chicago: “Voices of Europe; "Prof. Schmidt" and "Frau Margarete Lehman",” 1953-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 3, 2024,
MLA: “Voices of Europe; "Prof. Schmidt" and "Frau Margarete Lehman".” 1953-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. March 3, 2024. <>.
APA: Voices of Europe; "Prof. Schmidt" and "Frau Margarete Lehman". Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from