WEST GERMANY: The Friendly Invasion

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The new German invasion of Europe was at flood tide last week. Only this time, instead of carrying guns, the Germans clutched fistfuls of lire, francs, guilders, dinars, schillings. Some 5,000,000 of them are pouring south and west in an eager tourist flight from the greyer skies and industrial soot of their prosperous native land. "It is the fresh air and sunshine that we like best," gushed buxom, blonde Use Schultz on the beach at Ostia. "It is so wonderful to feel the sun scorching until it hurts." In Italy the Germans outnumber American tourists, though they do not outspend them. They are Europe's No. 1 travelers outside their own borders.

Germans this year will spend an estimated $400 million on their European travels. About 30% of them are students who go by bicycle, motorcycle or hitchhike, and often camp out. Another 60% are the middleclass, ranging from teachers to small businessmen, who travel by car, railroad or bus and live in small hotels and boarding houses. The remaining 10% are the wealthy, the Ruhr industrialists and Frankfurt bankers, who make their rounds with expensive movie cameras, stay in the palace hotels, demand the best and are willing to pay for it. They are even more visible than Americans. The French Riviera, Spain's Costa Brava and the Balearic Islands no longer satisfy the German wanderlust. Travel bureaus now offer all-inclusive air tours to Rhodes, the Canary Islands, Sicily, the Soviet Union and even a special round trip to Communist China. French and Italian tourist bureaus advertise regularly in German newspapers.

In this vacation summer, nearly all the scars of war and memory seem to have faded. Occasionally a Frenchman will take malicious delight in giving a German the wrong directions, or a Dutchman will leave a café when it fills up with tourists in Lederhosen and Tyrolean hats. In Yugoslavia the Germans are welcome, if only because they assist Yugoslavia's acutely short consumer-goods market by selling their belongings as they go along. Observed an elderly Serb in Belgrade: "Germans can cross the border with a normal amount of personal belongings, spend a month here and return without having used up much real cash at all. Of course," he added, "by this time, they're practically naked."

The German magazine Bunte Illustrierte recently reported that in France "scarcely any signs of resentment remain," that in Yugoslavia the tourist "even meets with much kindness," that in Italy he will be greeted enthusiastically—but should watch his luggage.

It is better everywhere, suggests Bunte Illustrierte, never to talk about the war. But, surprisingly, reports Bunte Illustrierte, it is in neutral Sweden that the Germans "generally meet with mistrust." The old, often-repeated tale of German tourists shocking their hosts by saying they had "come to love" a place while serving as occupiers during the war, is no longer widespread. Tourist marks, like tourist dollars, are much too valued.

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