ABSTRACT

After World War II, the geological community in Germany was severely disrupted. Nevertheless, there were also first attempts to mend severed professional ties by contacting colleagues within Germany and outside. As far as logistically possible under the difficult circumstances of the time, publications and maps, paleontological specimens and geological information were exchanged, e.g., between East-Berlin (Soviet Sector of the divided city) and Hannover (within the British Occupation Area) or Tübingen (within the French Occupation Area), and vice versa. Over the next couple of years, however, matters of logistics did not become easier—to the contrary. Berlin colleagues reported increasing political pressure and many left eastern Germany to seek employment in the west. Those that remained were forced to abandon professional bonds with the western zones. Whereas it seemed comparatively harmless, when one had sent a few fossil corals from Berlin on loan to Tübingen, those that had sent information on petroleum and ore deposits suddenly found themselves charged with espionage and high treason, facing imprisonment and potentially worse. As a consequence, letters crossing the border became less and less frequent and geologists like everybody else settled into two different worlds separated by the ‘Iron Curtain’.

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