O.K. (1964) - full transcript

Home resident Doris S. ...

Please come to House 10.

I repeat...

Home resident Doris S. ...

Please come to House 10.

Hello, Ms. Doris.
- Good day.

Please have a seat.
- Thank you.

Over here. - There?
Yes. Hello. Please.

Ms. Doris, beer has played a part
in your recent life. - Alcohol in general.

I have taken the liberty, if I may.
- Thank you, go ahead.

- You're welcome.

- Yes, cheers.

Ms. Doris, you moved to
West Germany on 13 June 1961...

...for family reunification.

I had the chance to go to the West
and thought: Sure, let's go!

There was an exterior reason.
- My mother died in September of '61.

Of '60! I was given
permission to resettle.

Your father lived in
West Germany. - Yes.

So she sits before us: Doris. S.

Who went to West Germany
for family reunification.

She did not stay long at her father's.
She wanted to experience everything.

Be it as a salesperson
for washing machines,

...or as a help at
Wienerwald pubs.

Until she ended up
in Frankfurt.

In Frankfurt I worked
as a mechanic. - Yes.

At what company?
- BMW auto works.

You made girl friends in Frankfurt?
- No, I had met them before.

And this Siegrid Zonsius
came along all this way.

And came to Frankfurt, as well.

And the boss wanted
to get involved with her.

On the side, he was married.

She didn't go along with it,
and was fired. - Siegrid? - Yes.

She was packing her things,
I had no idea what was going on.

I was like, OK,
and packed my things.

Why would I stay?
'If you're firing her, I'm leaving. '

And just like that I left,
it was the middle of the night.

The next day we went back
for our papers and money...

...and started at the
Citizens' Hospital in Frankfurt.

Doing what?
- Kitchen help, stuff like that.

Soon after you left
Frankfurt entirely. - Yes.

A sort of holiday trip, three of you.
- With a colleague from the hospital.

She wanted to leave, as well.
She was engaged to an Italian.

He would hit her. I was like:
You're crazy letting this go on.

The girl in question was
Regina Koenig from Thuringia.

A zone refugee, as they
might say in Frankfurt.

We took her along,
got a rental car...

...and went on holiday
in Mannheim and Heidelberg.

A house of three girls in a
rental car. - You might say that.

The money was gone,
we were going to find something.

And we read: 'Help wanted'
at a bar in Mannheim.

Where did you read this?
- In the newspaper. - The paper.

My friend and the
other girl, right...

They were all for it.
I didn't feel like being a barmaid.

It didn't suit me somehow.

We drove to Mannheim.
The girls went in, I stayed in the car.

They came out with Emil, the boss.
I preferred to work at a gas station.

He said: 'No way, work the bar.
You'll make more money. '

Make more money?
- Make more money, yes.

So a deal was made
to work as a barmaid.

Do you think this was in part
due to your wish to see the world?

You did write in your notebook
on 3 January 1960,

...you were still in the GDR,
some lyrics by Freddy:

'The day comes when you want to leave,
home seems much too small. ' - Right.

'The day comes when you do leave,
no matter the future. ' - I remember.

...everything seems
much too small.

The day comes when you leave...

...and don't ask what
the future might bring.

Was that part of it?
- I wanted to experience something.

Leave the monotonous behind.

So you went to work at a bar
in Mannheim. - No, no, no.

The three of us went inside
with the boss to talk.

'There's no jobs in Mannheim,
but in Baumholder'.

We were like: What's
Baumholder? - Hm-hm.

Small village, population 8,000,
24,000 Americans.

Greetings from Baumholder

The barracks

Military area. No civilian traffic
on thoroughfare or main road.

Pa-Pa Club
Dance hall

We ended up at Pa-Pa Club.
- Pa-Pa Club? - Formerly Pa-Pa Variety.

What kind of business is this?
- It's mostly frequented by Americans.

Baumholder isn't big,
it was mostly Americans. Well...

You can make good money.

What did you work there as?
- First a waitress, later a barmaid.

Before I left barmaids were outlawed.
Now there are only waitresses.

Waitress? - Waitress, yes.
- Can you explain this job?

Many might not understand what
this job entails in Baumholder.

Well, as a waitress
you could go pretty wild.

At first I had the bar. I served.
I wasn't allowed to talk to blacks.

Why not? - It was forbidden.
As soon as I talked to a black...

'What do you want?' - Yes. - 'A beer. '
I'd put down a glass: Pour it yourself!

I wasn't allowed to pour it.
- It was different with whites? - Yes.

If you talked to a black, you'd be
on the wrong side of the whites.

You served from behind the bar,
then also waited tables. - Yes.

Why? - I was sick of it.
I always had to do the dishes.

I barely got to do any drinks
or champagne, always doing dishes.

Hold on. 'Do drinks',
what do you mean, 'do'?

Well, you have to be clever.

Well, let's hear it.
- OK.

So I was working the bar,
having to do the dishes.

If you have to do champagne,
or want to: That's money.

So you were interested
in the commission! - Yes.

You'll have to explain this.
- We worked on commission.

So anything you sold as waitress
made you cash money.

You don't think prices are high
in Baumholder? - No.

50 marks for a bottle
of champagne. - 50 marks!

A French one. 35 marks
for a German one - Yes.

What commission did you get
per bottle of champagne?

I got 15 marks per French bottle,
10 marks per German bottle.

Working on commission you must
have wanted to sell as much as possible.

You know, here's what happened.
Early on I was stupid, right?

Inexperienced. - Inexperienced,
you might call it that. And...

After a while I found out the Americans
in West Germany live off our taxes.

The West German tax payers'.
- Yes, that's lots of taxes!

These aren't our taxes,
anymore. - Yes, that's right.

So it gave me satisfaction
taking money from the Americans.

These are my taxes.
- I see.

So I'd sit down at a table...

We'd chat some.
'You speak German?', whatever.

After a while:
'Can I have a drink, please?'

'Can I have a drink, please?'
- 'Can I'... Right.

'How much is it?'
- '10 marks. ' - 'Hm. '

Sometimes you're lucky,
sometimes you're not.

I say 'Alright'. - Alright? OK.
I get a drink from the bar.

Two 'Cheers' and the drink is gone.
That'll be seven marks.

And in your head
you're getting 20%.

Off a drink that's seven marks,
I make two marks.

More than 20%.
- Yes. Two marks.

It must not be the only one.
- No, no. So the glass is empty...

So I look at this trusting American,
and I'm like: 'It's empty again'.

He either nods or goes 'No. '
If he nods I get another one.

This time he says 'No. '
Now what? - Now what?

I'll stay another two minutes
and say 'Goodbye. '

'The dead woman
of Beverly Hills'

We'd get a lot of Chip Charlies.
- Chip Charlies?

Chip Charlies, these are
the cheapskates. - Cheapskates.

They just want to dance.
These are the Chip Charlies.

I wouldn't even approach the table.
He's not spending any money.

He knows what's up. - If there's a term
for those who won't spend anything...

...there must be a term
for those willing to splash out.

That's a fish. - A fish?
- In all of Baumholder.

You can fish him.
- He has to be reeled in.

The others, the Americans
who know what's up...

In lots of instances
I saw or experienced...

...the cheapskates or Chip
Charlies would tip us off.

When one came in
who had money...

...they would signal to us like this.
And we'd know there's a fish.

And over we'd swim.

So this guy was sitting at the bar,
all contemplative, drinking a Cola.

The cheapest there is.
- Yes, 1.10 mark it was.

So I sat next to him.
He didn't talk to me at all!

I was about to leave...

He asked: 'Are you my wife?'
I looked at him: 'Yeah, sure. '

He had 200 dollars
on him. - Hm-hm.

A big fish.
- A big fish, yes.

I saw that and I was like:
Will you look at that!

I could drink
whatever I wanted.

I drank champagne,
I was wasted honestly.

I pretty much drank
all the money away.

You prefer champagne as it's the
most expensive. - It makes the most.

Who is this? - That's Johnny,
he bought five bottles of champagne.

I would embrace him and spill
the bottle. He didn't notice.

Yes, yes.
- So the bottle was empty.

So I looked at the bottle
all innocent: 'It's empty. '

And he went:
'Another bottle!'

I had had about 17 beers, waitressing.
- 17 bottles of beer, that's something.

There must be several ways
of avoiding excessive drink.

You've told us one: Simply empty
the champagne into the sink.

When you're wasted. As long as the
American is sober you have to drink.

Another American. - He bought
me 15 drinks in one evening.

I'll empty that bottle.

Doris, you must have been
drinking every night. - I was.

Won't that get to the liver?

I was in Baumholder about
one and a half years.

I saw that girls who had been
three years looked pretty bad.

I did have a different complexion
before I went to Baumholder.

You look yellow, just run down.
So at some point I said: Enough!

Regina Koenig, the friend from
Thuringia, stays in Baumholder.

She believes she's found
her fortune at the Pa-Pa Club.

Shall we have a cigarette? - Yes.
- Help yourself. - Thank you.

Is it on? - Yes.

Doris, a part of your job was
to show the American guests...

...your personal charms,
to a degree.

That's not quite right.
- Isn't it? - No.

I've made this claim, refute it.
- At our bar, the Pa-Pa Club...

...all the people of Baumholder
will attest to this...

...our bar had the most
reputable girls. - Yes.

Doris, why then was the
Pa-Pa Club one of three bars...

...declared 'off-limits' by
the American occupying force...

...for sixty days
on 9 November 1960?

No admission, the flags
were down. - I know!

This establishment couldn't
have been so reputable.

That might have been before,
when there were different girls.

Where did you live
in Baumholder, anyway?

We lived in a house
rented by the Pa-Pa Club.

Oberstrasse 7.
- Oberstrasse 7.

This was a former farmhouse?
- Right, a former farmhouse.

Because of the other barmaids
who had lived there in 1960, '61...

...it had fallen into disrepute.
You can imagine why. - I sure can.

Was your room furnished?
- Well, 'furnished'...

Beds built with bricks, a cabinet,
a table and some chairs.

So just the scantiest. - Yes.
- There you lived with your friends.

- That's what I mean.

Were the lot of you ever photographed
with any American? - Many times.

Ever sit on a lap maybe, if he wanted?
- Of course, that was our world!

You were underage
according to West German law.

Did that ever make you think?
- Nobody told me this.

Nobody told you.
- The opposite. I was 18, 19 rather.

There were 17-year-olds
making good money. - Hm-hm.

And the owners of
these establishments...

...didn't give the employees
any legal instructions? - Nothing.

Doris, there are criminal statistics by
local superintendent Gottlieb Bernd.

These cover one year. May I
read you from these? - Go ahead.

Three murders, 16 cases of
aggravated battery, 16 rapes,

...36 various sexual offences,
16 cases of embezzlement,

...33 cases of fraud, three
falsifications of documents,

...450 various crimes and offences,
more than 800 traffic infractions,

...and 2000 requests by
prosecution and police departments.

In Baumholder?
- Just in Baumholder.

That's a lot. - And you were
right in the middle of it, Doris.

For example two decomposed bodies
were found in the forest, Americans.

Doris, you carried this 6mm
gas pistol for protection.

I did. Occasionally Americans
would harass us in the street...

...and I did use it
on occasion.

Doris, I want to ask quickly and
precisely whether during your time...

...in Baumholder you ever
came into conflict with the law.

Only as a witness.
- Only as a witness? - 100%.

Can you prove this?
- Of course I can. - How?

You can ask somebody for example.
- And ask we did, Doris. I can tell you...

...that the attorney general of the
GDR has received information...

...from the concerned authorities
in the Federal Republic.

No criminal record. - That's right.
- That's right, is it?

And I think this is good news that
we received. - I knew this beforehand.

It's difficult to believe everything
you're told, though. - I know.

Since I'm coming over everything
will be verified. I understand that.

But when I say how it is,
that's how it is.

What about your working
papers? - I'm not getting them.

I've been in this home for five weeks.
Haven't been sent anything.

Did you write to them?
- Of course I did! Three times!

We went ahead and got
your tax information.

According to this you
paid your taxes properly.

Including church tax
of 10.95 marks.

Church tax? - Yes,
it's deducted automatically.

And we've brought you
something else from Baumholder...

Best wishes from
your friend Siegrid.

It says: Congratulations on
your 21st birthday. Your Siegrid.

Meanwhile Siegrid the friend has
married well at the Pa-Pa Club.

She has married this American who
calls himself simply Duke of Germany.

The girl friends from Baumholder
are sending something else.

That's my bear.
- Is it yours? - Yes.

Why don't you put him
on your lap. - Certainly.

25 pfennigs. - Oh, won
at a tombola? - Yes.

There's a smaller teddy.
This must mean a lot to you...

...as it has an emblem saying
Oberwiesental. - That's right.

That's where it's from.
Before I left. - You're welcome.

Let's make some room.
We'll put this one on the table.

Like this?
- That's nice.

Your home Oberwiesental must have
meant a lot while you were over there.

'Home is home',
they say in the Erzgebirge.

'Home is home', yes.

Letters from Baumholder.
Letters home.

These lines were among those read
by Marianne, a nurse in Annaberg.

Sister Marianne, I can't go on.
I don't want to go on living.

When I'm drinking alcohol,
I want to forget.

I can't go on.


I was totally done for.

So you thought more and
more of Oberwiesental.

What can you do?
You're always drawn home, right?

Doris, what did you do before
going to the Federal Republic?

After school I did an apprenticeship
at an agricultural cooperative.

That's an elastic term. Did you
work in the field, the stable?

I worked everywhere,
the field, the stable.

There's a very pretty picture from the
People's Voice paper of Karl-Marx-Stadt.

From 5 November 1960.
- Yes, I know.

You're holding a young bull. It says Doris
is joining an animal breeding brigade.

That's correct. I wanted
to work at a horse farm.

That explains this note in your
Sports and Technics Association card.

Riding / Shooting

What's this picture?
- That's from 'Young Generation'.

That's the agricultural
exhibition in Markkleeberg.

'With Doris in Markkleeberg' in
'Young Generation', that's right.

You were always carrying this
somewhat creased document.

20 voluntary hours in the
National Reconstruction Works.

Why did you take it along, it's
invalid over there! - So what!

Didn't some envy you when you
were out in the great wide world?

Freddy Quinn and his song.
- Look, it's like this...

Here I often thought of the
West as something else!

Now I know that what youths
over here think of the West...

...is just what the West German
youths think of America.

That's what I learned
over there, you know.

It's sick, right?
'Bullshit' in American.

I used to slag politics off.

Right? - Yes.
- I always spoke of the West.

When I was still here.
I learned a lot over there.

Alright, Doris. From what I
understand your beer of choice...

...these last few years in Baumholder
was Emmerich Spezial.

I suggest to finish our conversation
we have a Radeberger Export.

Experts will agree it's the better beer.
We have reason to use the better beer...

...to drink to the better future.
- That's right, OK. - OK, cheers!

Doris S.. We noticed her
at the reception home...

...for migrants and returnees
in Eisenach. At play.

The recording was unexpected
for her. Nothing was rehearsed.

Doris S., one of many who have found
their way back. Of their own accord.

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