A Nerve Wracking Experience Called Freedom

Mounted on the wall near the front door of the Restaurant Offenbach-Stuben in East Berlin is a hand-carved, 100-year-old mechanical toy, a Ballet Automat. Drop 10 pfennigs through the slot, and the hatbox-size machine comes to life: A tiny canvas curtain rises, and three ballerinas twirl and spin, jerkily struggling to keep time to the mechanized music.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.