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E. GERMAN SHOPPERS RUSH ACROSS TO SHOP FOR WESTERN CHRISTMAS

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Since borders were opened Nov. 9, millions of East Germans have poured into the West Germany, lured in part by the 100 marks ($55) in "welcome money" the Bonn government gives each of them.

With Christmas just around the corner, the pace of visitors has picked up, with 320,000 crossing into northern Bavaria alone early Friday. Tens of thousands more arrived in West Berlin and other parts of West Germany.

Officials in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein and the central state of Hesse were planning to open nine new border crossings to handle the influx.

To cut down on the traffic chaos, the new crossings will be limited to those on bicycle and foot.

The will to shop was driving some of the visitors to extremes.

Dozens waited at the crossing near Probstzella, jumping onto packed trains as they slowed down before entering northern Bavaria, said Hans Schlee of the state border police headquarters in Munich.

About 1,100 people couldn't get on any train at Probstzella and walked into Bavaria through a driving, nearly freezing rain. Shivering and soaked, the group arrived in nearby Ludwigstadt, much to the surprise of local townspeople.

"It's unbelievable what people will do," said Schlee, noting there were dozens of children in the group.