Subject: Caving Horror Stories (III)
A caver from Austria who recently visited the U.S. told some grim tales
about caving in Eastern Europe, especially E. Germany. He's translating
_CAVER OF FORTUNE_ into German, with added advice on how to do keep a low
profile while caving in E. Europe.
East Germany has a law against going underground. Literally interpreted,
it says that you must stay out of your own basement. Apparently, the law
was enacted after a few people tunnelled their way out of E. Berlin.
The government does support sports, however, so caving clubs are allowed.
The party tries to plant spies in the cave clubs but everybody knows who
they are, so they take them on extremely rough cave trips and thoroughly
trash them! Club newsletters are required to contain party-line material
about how caving advances the cause of the state; this is usually
accomplished by duplicating the same page in each newsletter issue.
European cavers explore old mines and tunnels, as well as natural caves.
Networks of artificial tunnels are common under old European cities; they
are ancient sewers, were used to hide from invaders, etc., and their
locations are unknown to present city governments. The cavers in an E.
German city (which must remain nameless) discovered an iron door on the
river bank, overgrown with weeds. They picked the lock, made their own
key, and explored the tunnels. They found treasure which was hidden
there during World War II by the local inhabitants, most of whom were
killed when the city was bombed. Being caught in the tunnels means a
one-way ticket to Siberia, so it's the ultimate stealth-caving!
Cave locations are state secrets in eastern-bloc countries; some French
cavers were caught at the border of Yugoslavia with a roadmap on which
they had marked cave locations; they were jailed as spies, and it was
three weeks before the French embassy bailed them out.