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“Where the shoe pinches” – Ernst Reuter on air

Cover der Schallplatte „Wo uns der Schuh drückt“ aus dem Jahr 1989. Zu hören sind vier Ausgaben der Sendung und fünf weitere Reden Reuters.
Cover of the “Where the shoe pinches” record from 1989. Four editions of the program and five additional speeches from Reuter can be heard.

Listen to the first episode, broadcast on 18 November 1951, as an audio file.

“Where the shoe pinches” – Ernst Reuter on air

On 18 November 1951, the first episode of the series “Wo uns der Schuh drückt” (“Where the shoe pinches”) was broadcast on RIAS (Radio in the American Sector). The aim of the 14-day radio series, as Governing Mayor Ernst Reuter explained in the first episode, was “to discuss the everyday hardships and worries that concern us all […], and to explore what we can do, what we can’t do, and how I judge the situation based on my understanding of the circumstances”. Every other Sunday, Reuter dedicated an average of around 15 minutes to questions sent in by Berliners. The series was modelled on the program “Talk to the People”, in which the Mayor of New York, Fiorello LaGuardia had spoken to the inhabitants of his city during the Second World War. Reuter addressed Berlin’s population in this way 40 times. His final episode was broadcast on 27 September 1953, just two days before his death. His successors in office initially continued the tradition. The last episode of “Where the shoe pinches” was aired on 6 May 1978.

The episodes offer a fascinating insight into both Reuter’s political assessments and the mood of Berlin’s population, to whose letters the Mayor responded. As part of the project, the Reuter episodes of the series have been indexed and prepared for further research. In addition, the thousands of listener letters have been systematically compiled.