What is 10 feet wide, 4 feet underground, and stocked with sausage?
The answer: a German neutron bomb shelter.
And Friedel Jochem, a 48-year-old construction engineer, is the first on his block to have one.
In fact, Jochem is probably the first person in the world to have what shelter manufacturer Guenther Draude calls a neutronenglocke, a bell shaped underground shelter designed to help groups of six to nine people survive the effects of the latest development in atomic weaponry, the proposed neutron artillery shell.
Jochem says he is certain that someday the Soviets will attack West Germany. "There is such political trouble around the world in recent years and such moral decay that was has to come," he says.
Thus far, Jochem acknowledges, his neighbors in this small town in central West Germany only gawk in curiosity and amusement at the mammoth hole in his otherwise neat backyard.
"But during the time of Noah," he says, referring to the biblical ark builder, "people were joking, too, making fun. People do not see the reality of the situation."
Actually, a handful of West Germans apparently share Jochem's views sufficiently to order the latest thing in survival equipment. It is expensive.
Draude, 39, who operates a lighting fixture factory in Wuppertal, took over a bankrupt atomic shelter company four years ago. He made no sales until eight months ago. Since then, he says 14 people have contracted to have atomic bunkers installed and in the last two months, four of those 14 - reflecting the heightened public awareness of neutron weapons - have requested the special anti-neutron protection.
Several hundred others have expressed interest, he says.
The neutron weapons - developed by the United States but thus far withheld from production by President Carter are meant as a counter to Warsaw Pact armies that have a three-to-one numerical advantage in tanks in central Europe over NATO forces.
These weapons are meant to kill by intense radiation rather than the blast or heat that accompanies explosion of existing atomic arms. The idea is that they could be used against invading thank armies on a West Germany battlefield with out necessarily destroying nearby towns.
The weapons are extremely controversial, but not with Draude and his customers. Draude says, all of them tend to be very conservative in their political views. Draude and Jochem both say they believe the neutron weapon is the best defense against Soviet tank armies. Both believe the center-left government in West Germany is too soft on the Soviets and is withholding information on the extent of the threat.
Draude is so convinced that the Russians are coming that he bought a surplus armored truck from the West German army to transport his wife and three children to the western side of the Rhine River and has designed watchbands that can carry hidden pieces of platinum and buttons that contain gold coins for us as barter in the chaos of the war that he sees as inevitable.
The shelters, however, are only for the well-off.The least expensive neutronenglocke costs about $20,000 installed. Jochem's more elaborote model can hold up to 40 persons and costs about $65,000 before the first tin of sausage is stored in it.
The cost, however, can be amortized as a tax write-off at about 10 percent a year, Draude says.
The Draude system involves the basic bell-shaped steel enclosure, whose top half is coated on the outside with a five-inch layer of paraffin - to absorb any neutrons that penetrate the four feet of earth on top of the structure. A thin fiber glass hemisphere goes over the paraffin.
A sprinkler system is also installed underground to soak the earth and slown down neutron travel.
For areas over entranceways, he installs a "deuterim blockage," which is "heavy water" containing the neutron-resistant deuterim between glass panes.
West Germany, a country of more than 60 million people, reportedly has civil defense shelters for an estimated 1.5 million people, a ratio that Draude thinks is scandalous.
He says he thinks the Soviets will attack on a Sunday, when private cars jam the roads and defensive military movement will be difficult, and in August, when many military officers are on vacation.
Specifically, he thinks the Soviets will come this Aug. 20. But he cautions not to write that because it can be made to look ridiculous and, he says, "this is a very serious business and anything that makes it look ridiculous is harmful."