activities, in a lengthy conversation to distract
him. Nevertheless, he too uttered the fateful words: "So you are a journalist?"
"No. I did some reporting during the electoral campaign, but now I am
just a housewife."
"Ah, in that case, just write 'no profession'."
And he granted me my visa.
About 9 P.M. on the evening of
August 25, the train began crawling through the suburbs of Berlin. Dare I
confess that only then began to be afraid? The demonstration I intended to make
in Warsaw would be quite different from everything I had done in the West. I
couldn't get out of my mind that young people had been sent to rot in communist
prisons for far less.
After a few minutes a man sat down opposite me.
He never took his eyes off me, but not until the train was well under way did
he begin to talk. He introduced himself as a counselor in the Democratic
Republic's embassy in Warsaw.
What a relief! I began to feel less
"Do you know Warsaw?" he asked.
"Barely. I thought
I'd look around it for two or three days."
"I'd be happy to guide you.
My family is in East Berlin, so I'll have plenty of time. I would really like
you to have a good look at Poland."
It was a distinctly embarrassing
invitation, for if this East German diplomat were to be seen in my company, his
career would suffer beginning tomorrow morning.
We had hardly
reached Warsaw early in the morning when my diplomat brought up the subject
again: 'Let me help you find a hotel."
"I have friends here and I can
stay with them. At any rate, I'm going to wander around the city all day. I'll
make up my mind later."
"Finally I managed to get rid of my attentive
diplomat, but I had no luck at the first two hotels I went to. Time was growing
short, so I asked for shelter at a youth hostel, which was full at the moment
but let me leave my suitcase.
I had only a few hours in which to alert
the Western press. I felt very small and vulnerable in the unfamiliar city. My
taxi driver kept going around and around the same block, looking for the number
of the Agence France Presse correspondent. I finally told him to let me out and
I would find it myself. But I couldn't.