GERMANY: Costly Clothing

Outside, it was bone cold. Inside, big stoves were stoked red-hot to warm the 800 dancers who whirled over the floor of Loebel's Volksgaststatte, a rambling stucco dance hall and restaurant in Berlin's British zone.

Flames suddenly flickered around one of the overheated stovepipes. In the screaming panic, a few of the dancers tried the windows. But the Wehrmacht had barred them during the war, when Loebel's was a prison-camp storehouse. The lights went out. In a terrible burst of flame, the roof collapsed.

"For some reason," said Corporal George Spencer, one of 40 British soldiers at the Saturday night fancy-dress...

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