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We are in Berlin, Hitler's home town. Hitler is the leader of the Nazis. The Nazis destroyed lots of towns, like Oradour and Lidice and lots of other towns, because they killed one of his generals. What he did is, he took out a Europe map and he picked a town at random and attacked it. He burned it down until there was nothing left of it.
Here in Berlin, there was the Berlin Wall. There was a big war, World War II, where they captured Germany and split Germany straight through the center. And there was Berlin on the east side. So they split Berlin in half. At first there was no border. And people were escaping from the east to west, so they decided to lay barbed wire down on the ground. But before they did that, everybody grabbed what they could and ran before barbed wire was put down near where they were. The barbed wire didn't seem to be helping on people staying. So they decided to build a big wall with guards patrolling on top of it. It also had barbed wire on top of it. So the people were really afraid, because if they tried to escape over the wall, they would have to get over a fence, some barbed wire, the wall, and then more barbed wire and another fence. While the guards are shooting at you, and blinding you with a spotlight. So it was hard to escape. And it was dangerous to escape. Although if you got to the west side, they couldn't force you to go back.
What East Berlin looked like different from West Berlin, is that all the buildings looked almost exactly identical. Like, there was a building made all out of tan, and it was square and it was tall. And lots of buildings next to that were square, tan, and tall -- the exact height, the exact same color, and the exact same length. And the west had all these different looking buildings that were different colors like blue and red and gold. And what the easterns saw was that they had just buildings. There was nothing special about them.
In Prague, I didn't notice anything different about the buildings. Neither in Hungary or Budapest, although I knew that Hungary was bordered off by barbed wire from the east to west. Hungary was on the east, and the west was Austria. Hungary was not surrounded by barbed wire, but it couldn't get to Austria. The government didn't want people escaping to the west, because they wanted their people to stay.
The people wanted to escape from the east to the west because there wasn't enough food. They were working so hard that they were working to death, and the Communist government wasn't being nice to them. The Communists believed that you should work as hard as you can, and take as much as you need. It didn't work because people actually weren't working as hard as they could, and they were taking more than they needed. What happened is, say you have a piece of bread. Everybody makes two pieces of bread a day, and they give one to the people that can't work, and keep one for themselves. And what originally happened is that they made two pieces of bread and kept the two pieces of bread for themselves. So the poor people were starving.
I kept asking, "Why would the Communist government be so mean to their own people, if they wanted their people to be happy, and be on their side? And what they're doing right now is torturing them." And mom said that it was like keeping them in a prison.
I kept asking mom, so then she gave up to Cam. And Cam kept explaining with the stuffed animals. You know I have fourteen stuffed animals, and half of fourteen is seven. Well, there were seven strong workers that made two pieces of bread each day. They put one into the stockpile for emergency, and one into their own pile so they could eat.
And Cam said, okay let's say one of the workers doesn't like that way, and he wants to make two pieces of bread and keep two pieces of bread, so that he makes what he wants, not makes what the other people want. And so, he doesn't like that way and he leaves the room. And Syam has the way of everybody works and they get sticks as payment. One animals makes apples, one animal makes meat, and one animal makes bread. So the lion likes meat, but he also likes bread. So he trades some sticks for bread. Bread costs three sticks. Meat costs five, and apples cost seven. So what happens is, their way works perfectly with the sticks and his animals are perfectly happy. And my animals are unhappy because they only get one piece of bread each day. But Syam's way, they can get as much as they can pay for.
But I asked Cam, "You know how the lion makes meat, the turtle makes apples, and the dodo bird makes bread?" I asked him if the animals would trade a piece of bread for an apple, or an apple for a piece of meat, or something like that. And if they wanted two, they could trade two for two things. But what Cam said is, it's basically like you have to trade two pieces of brick for two wood. But what Syam has to do is, he pays some stuff like ten dollars for a wood stock. And he said, it's like you having to trade two things for two things but Syam only has to trade one thing for two things.
Being in Berlin was fun. It was also very sad. It was sad because, think of all the people that died trying to escape from a prison to free lands. They could've been just as well off if Communists didn't exist. Or if the Communists didn't bother them. I also liked walking around and seeing all the nice parts, and getting the big stick (that I didn't get to keep).
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