This is for one of my favorite commenters Sara, who was sad I didn’t post photos of Checkpoint Charlie yesterday.
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 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.
Hope everyone had a great Independence Day!