East Germans slam door on Poland
Bonn — East Germany has moved to isolate its citizens from the renegade Poles -- and to isolate Poland and from the rest of the East block. From Oct. 30 any private trips by East Germans to Poland (and by Poles to East Germany) will require a prior, police-approved invitation from the specific Pole or East German to be visited.
The new regulation -- which the Polish government has agreed to at the East German request -- thus ends nine years of visfree travel between the neighboring countries. Observers expect it to reduce sharply the number of East, Germans and Poles traveling to each other's country -- some 6 million last year.
The latest measure, which officially is dubbed as "temporary," comes less than two weeks after East German curtailment of the flow of East-West German visits. On Oct. 13 East Berlin doubled the amount of West German marks that visiting West Germans must exchange for less valuable East German marks on going to East Germany (and quadrupled the marks that West Gerliners must exchange on going to East Berlin).
In the period since then this new, disguised tax has cut the number of West German and West Berlin traverlers to East Germany an estimated 60 percent.
In a futher pinprick to West Germans, East Germany has also announced that it wil not go on European daylight saving time next year. West Germany had refused to join its Western European partners in daylight saving until East Germany agreed to go along with it this year.
The East German warding off of any spread of the Polish concept of a free trade union is also evidenced in the current, hastily convened two-day conference of East-block trade unions in East Berlin.At the conference East German, Soviet, Czech, and other communist trade union officials have been warning the Polish delegation of the unions' need for strong ideological work and "strengthening the socialist community of nations."
Lech Walesa, the leader of last summer's free trade union strike in Gdansk who has become a Polish folk hero, has criticized the new East German travel regulation in an interview with a West Berlin newspaper. He said he would raise the issue with Polish Premier Jozef Pinkowski when the two men meet Oct. 31.