Dorge gave me a piece of the metal mesh border fence as a souvenir before handing us over in the pretty town of Hohegeiss to our next guide, his former colleague Manfred Gille. He led us on a steep path through a spectacular pine forest that was so thick and dark it would have been the ideal setting for a Grimm fairytale. In a clearing near the East German village of Sorge, he pointed out how the tilling of the earth in search of landmines inadvertently churned up seeds and helped a wealth of birch and pine saplings to take root all along the former border. There are still bare patches, however, where industrial weed-killer sprayed by GDR authorities to ensure unbroken views of their borders, have killed all the nutrients.
The semi-dress uniform ( Ausgangsuniform ), except in details, was the same for all ranks and was worn on off-duty or off-post occasions. It included the service cap, jacket, long trousers, and black low-quarter shoes. The single-breasted jacket was worn without a belt, with a white or grey-green shirt and a green tie. Officers were allowed to wear the jacket with a white shirt. During periods of warm summer weather, either the shirt and tie or the jacket may be omitted. For a while a double-breasted jacket could be worn as optional wear by officers and warrant officers.