Poles Eagerly Traveling West Without Visas
FRANKFURT AN DER ODER, Germany (AP) _ Zbyslaw Andruszkiewicz said he had a terrible headache from waiting all night, but the chance to travel freely into Germany was a dream come true for the Polish visitor.
″This is one world. People must make trips to the whole world,″ said Andruszkiewicz, who was on his way today to see his cousin in Berlin.
″This is very good. This is normal.″
Six Western European countries - Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg - today dropped visa requirements for Polish tourists. It was the first visa-free travel to most of the countries since World War II.
While many of the Poles were heading as fast as they could to the well- stocked stores in Berlin, others like Andruszkiewicz said they just wanted to see relatives in the West.
Andruszkiewicz said he, his wife and their daughter had waited all night in a long line of cars before entering Germany.
He arrived in Frankfurt an der Oder, a border city where rightist extremists rallied to try to keep the Poles out. About 250 of the protesters clashed with police and stoned a bus carrying Poles back from the Netherlands.
Germany’s ARD television estimated that 50,000 Poles had crossed the border by noon.
One busload of 40 men from Lublin was headed to the Netherlands on a car- buying expedition.
Edward Kozak said it was ″very expensive″ to buy a new Polonaise car made in his own country, and the wait could be up to five years.
″European cars are much better. I’m looking for a medium-size, four-door car,″ Kozak said with a smile.
Another car shopper, Georg Wisnewski, from Lublin, said: ″We have a lot of money. Everybody is buying a car.″
Some Poles crossing the border already were driving Western European or Japanese cars that they had bought on previous trips.
After the early morning melee, there were extra police in Frankfurt, just across the Oder river from the Polish town of Slubice.
A team of local residents from Frankfurt an der Oder handed out information and a welcoming letter from Manfred Stolpe, the local state governor.