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At Marianne's Delicatessen, oompah music wafts from the speakers, bratwurst steams on plates, a poster advertises Oktoberfest, ceramic steins decorate a wall and customers line up to buy rich pastries.

For many years, that has been the scene at Marianne's, 149 W. 200 South.But recently some new items appeared: bits of concrete from the Berlin Wall selling for $14.95. Or a $2 packet of crumbs from the infamous wall, along with a tiny replica of the Brandenburg Gate and a certificate of authenticity.

The souvenir sales point up the intense excitement of Utah's German-American community over Germany's reunification, scheduled for Wednesday. Many have been moved almost to tears by the astounding events of the past year.

When the two Germanys merge, however, many problems will remain, says the delicatessen's proprietress, Marianne Young.

"I think it's really great, but to be honest . . . it's far off from being one Germany," she said. To her, the western part of the country is a technicolor slice of the modern world, while East Germany is drab gray.

"East Germany, everything is down, because for 45 years they didn't have any cement, they didn't have any color to fix up the houses, everything is falling apart," she said.

Young is from Werdau in Saxony, East Germany. She escaped in 1950 and came to Salt Lake City in 1953.

The change to a free system will be difficult for many, she predicts. It will take at least five years before the eastern side is up to par.

For example, schoolchildren were force-fed a diet of atheism for decades.

In 1975, the last time she visited her relatives in East Germany, she said that as a Mormon she intended to go to church. But children said, "Oh, Marianne, you're not going to church - there is no God," she recalled.

"I said, `Who said there's no God?' " And the answer came: "My teacher told me so."

East Germany was deeply depressing, she said. "I could not take it anymore . . . Those people really were in prison. It was like a big prison."

The residents couldn't travel where they wished or take the kind of vacation they wanted, she said. "If you were a (communist) party member, you could go to the Baltic Sea, you could go to Moscow, you could go everywhere. And the rest had to stay home."

Petra Pabst, a professional singer who will perform at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to celebrate the reunification, is one of the thousands of brave people who caused it all to happen.

Pabst is from Leipzig, East Germany, and participated in the weekly demonstrations that eventually pulled down the communist regime.

"It's super," she said Friday of the reunification. "It means freedom."

She and her Salt Lake friend, Eva Hegewald, who served as interpreter, had just purchased German bread at Siegfried's Delicatessen, 69 W. 300 South.

Speaking German, Pabst recalled the action that brought down the communists.

"Monday nights were regular demonstrations," she said. Hegewald added of her friend, "She was always in the middle of it."

Hegewald said people have been calling Leipzig the "city of heroes" because of the demonstrations that started there. There were no apparent leaders of the protests - just thousands of Germans calling for freedom.

Pabst said the police would come in and try to break up the demonstration "with guns, dogs and police sticks." Some of the protesters would be injured, some arrested.

But the following Monday night, the demonstrators would protest again, "even though they were very scared.

"And the older people went to the police and said, `Hey, stop this. How could you do this to your brothers?' "

Eventually, even the police joined the demonstrations, and the hard-line government fell.

Hegewald herself, and her husband, escaped from East Germany back in the 1950s, when it was dangerous to attempt to leave. Speaking of the pending reunion of Germany, Hegewald said, "Every time I think about it, tears come to my eyes."

Others in Utah's German-American community, which numbers about 25,000, mostly from the East, are also enthusiastic about the change.

"It is very, very important," said Ellen Moulding, who lives in Hooper, Weber County.

She was born in Schleswig-Holstein, West Germany. Her mother is from East Germany but lives on the western side of the border.

"The overriding feeling is a great feeling of deep happiness, but then there's the awareness that this is a great challenge for the German people," said Moulding, who came to America in 1972 along with her American husband and their eight children.

"I'm going back on the 11th of October, and my sister and my mother and I will go together and visit East Germany."

She added, "We're going to visit those cousins in East Germany . . . and all the others that I have never met."

Moulding compares the reunification to a prisoner of war coming home to his wife after many years apart.

"You know, they have been longing for each other . . . one day he comes home and there's a great celebration, and everybody is just so happy, and they rejoice; great rejoicing and happiness.

"And then they settle down to everyday life, and the difficulties are getting visible now. They have kind of grown apart. They are very different now from how they were when they first knew each other."

To make matters worse, in this case, the former prisoner happens to be an invalid now, she said - meaning that the East German economy is in ruins.

"Instead of being better off financially they are worse off."