A little more Berlin

This is for one of my favorite commenters Sara, who was sad I didn’t post photos of Checkpoint Charlie yesterday. 

This photo was taken by a buddy of mine, who told me and Rob to look sufficiently grumpy. We did, I think.


Reenactment… sort of.


The one thing I hate most about historically significant areas such as Checkpoint Charlie is that they’ve become a Mecca for cheesy, kitschy, touristy crap. This is a bunch of reenactors, wearing old US Army uniforms, posing at what used to be the guard booth at the checkpoint for the entertainment of tourists. 

The site is filled with vendors selling cheesy, old Soviet souvenirs, fast food joints, and story boards tacked on to random places. 

What used to be a symbol of the free west battling communist oppression, has become kind of a clown show, with everyone trying to make a euro off history. Look, I get it. It’s become a carnival for people to claim “Look! I was there!” It’s modern. It’s a source of vanity. 

But it’s also history, and it’s a pretty significant part of our past. It seems the respect has vanished to be replaced with tawdry, abbreviated soundbites and Soviet “fur” hats. 

This is history. 


This is a grassy, overgrown area in the eastern portion of Berlin, fenced off to the side of a parking lot. 

This is also where the Germans took the carcass of Adolph Hitler, chopped it up, and turned it into ash. They apparently didn’t want the site to become a magnet for Nazi freaks and racist Fuhrer worshippers, so they scattered the ashes buried them underground and allowed weeds and grass to grow over the site. They also dumped a portion into the Elbe River. 

This place is not a tourist attraction, and it’s not notable. But my buddy, who happens to be an officer with the Bundespolizei, took us there to show us the parts of Berlin one doesn’t get on official tours. 


Yes, parts of the wall are still intact, left to stand along the cobblestone path that today runs through Berlin, showing where the wall used to divide the city. 


We will post more adventures as we have them. 

Hope everyone had a great Independence Day!

16 responses

  1. My sweetheart Silke has told me numerous stories about her experience with “The Wall” growing up in Germany and all. Cool pics🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really like how they kept the cobblestone path as a subtle reminder of the divide. As you walk around the city, you look down and remember the history.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I guess I should have read this before I posted over on the other thread. At least the stuff I bought is probably genuine.

    I don’t mind the re-enactors as long as it’s done with respect. Alas, this is a spot in the middle of a (now) thriving city so it’d be hard to screen that stuff out without building a new wall around the area.

    I am glad they saved part of the wall. A reminder is needed for things sometimes, and the cobblestone strip isn’t going to be enough all by itself. (Apparently reminders about the Holocaust are in too short supply these days, see zelmanpartisans.com.)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. RetMSgt in Pa.

    And then there are those of us who not only remember when Germany was divided, but actually saw the Inter-German Border, complete with fences, minefields, guard towers and armed border troops. On one side freedom, and on the other side……

    Liked by 2 people

    1. and the concertina wire pointed inwards towards the East German side. A nice subtle reminder of which side was being “herded”.

      “To Hof, Hoelle, and beyond.”

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent pics, hope you and Rob have a great time

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  6. Great pics, hope you and Rob have a wonderful time!

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  7. I have seen two segments of the wall. (I think) One Dayton Ohio, at the Air Force Museum and another in DC – I want to say at the Smithsonian, but to be honest all the museums start to blur together after a while. I don’t have those photos on hand. Even seeing the segments was chilling.

    Thanks for take a few moments to share your vacation.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There is a section at the Reagan Presidential Library, as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, re-enactors. If they really wanted to make it look genuine, they’d roll out the fake barbed wire and dress up in fake Soviet/East German military uniforms with wooden drill rifles, and jump over the fake barbed wire.

    I remember when the wall went up. I was in high school. Before the solid block wall went up, the ‘wall’ was barbed wire. The people who were desperate to escape took incredible chances and some died for doing so. When Conrad Schumann took a chance to get to freedom, it wasn’t just a news item. It was a moment frozen in time.

    http://rarehistoricalphotos.com/conrad-schumann-defects-west-berlin-1961/

    It was after he made that leap that the concrete blocks and no-mans-land zones went up, and windows and doors of buildings on the East-West border were blocked with cinder blocks and cement.

    The people now posing in old uniforms have no idea what that dreadful barrier really meant, which is unfortunate.

    The Wall was not meant to keep people out of East Berlin or East Germany.

    It was meant to keep them trapped there forever.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I know it’s off topic, but…..re: Hillary/FBI

    We are the Hunger Games. The Capital knows best.
    Silly peasants.

    Like

    1. I swore to myself I wouldn’t blog politics while on vacation. Ugh. Not doing it.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. This is my only outlet, I had to tell someone.
        Safe travels my friend. Do a shot of apfelkorn for me.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for posting these. It seems like such a completely different place now. A guard booth in the middle of the street. People casually walking around the gate. It’s almost unreal.

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  11. As one born in 1960, things like the falling of the wall are familiar to me, but not the erecting of it. Of course, I am fairly competent on the facts of the construction and things about it, as a student of history, and such, but I am more a child of the Vietnam era. But one thing that sticks out about any divided city and that is the despair that occurs on both sides of the fence. Even on the side that tends to be in a more favorable position. I have never been to Europe, and probably never will make it there. So it is with thanks that I follow your travels and study your photos. And I also realize that the chances you have to get off the beaten paths are the best way to experience the real area. To smell the smells that those who drug the body of Hitler to the field did that day, and to see the sun shine through the clouds, or maybe it was raining or snowing. Just to get a real sense of how it was to walk in the footsteps of the people then, who may have realized just how important what they were doing was. Thanks for sharing your trip with me and the others. And by sharing, bringing us a sense of history.

    Liked by 1 person

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