Nobody Had Any Intention Of Building A Wall

Right. And nobody had any intention of tearing it down twenty-eight years later either.

Walter Ulbricht

But, you know, stuff happens.

In his lack of preparation, he mistakenly insinuated that the checkpoints in the Berlin Wall — which up until then were guarded by soldiers with orders to shoot anyone trying to cross — were now open. They weren’t, but that announcement was all East Berliners needed to storm the wall and demand they be allowed to cross into West Berlin. After that, the wall became obsolete, and soon fell.

German Of The Day: Disneyfizierung

That means Disneyfication.

Checkpoint

Just stop by Checkpoint Charlie sometime and see for yourself.

Authorities in Germany’s capital Berlin have banned local performers from wearing US army uniforms at Checkpoint Charlie, the iconic Cold War crossing between the east and west of the city.

They said the actors exploited tourists by demanding money for photos at the attraction…

People impersonating US soldiers have been at Checkpoint Charlie for nearly 20 years, working in rotation to pose with tourists.

But many Berliners are unhappy about the “Disneyfication” of the site, where fake Soviet Red Army fur hats, gas masks and pieces of the Berlin Wall can be found for sale.

If You Didn’t Read It Here It Didn’t Happen

Go Neues Deutschland. There are not a lot of East Berlin newspapers out there that have the backbone to call the fall of the Berlin Wall fake news.

ND

Communist newspapers? Isn’t that a contradiction in terms?

Wolfgang Hübner returns from the archives of the Neues Deutschland newspaper clutching a rare treasure: a thick binder containing one of the biggest misses in journalistic history.

Mr Hübner has unearthed the edition of Friday, November 10 1989, the day after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is the most consequential moment of the decade, yet that day’s ND — the official organ of the Socialist party of East Germany, boasting a circulation of more than 1m — contains not a word on the event.

“Lots of traffic at the border crossing.”

Virtual Socialist Reality

Last call for boarding to Cold War Berlin. Don’t forget your VR goggles.

Berlin

Who says time travel isn’t possible?

30 years later, Berlin Wall comes back to life with virtual reality – German startup offering visitors and history buffs an ‘authentic’ and immersive Cold War-era tour of the divided capital.

A packed bus approaches Checkpoint Charlie, the Cold War’s most famous border crossing, as grim-faced East German guards whisper among themselves about whether to hold you for questioning.

After a few heart-stopping minutes, you and your fellow passengers are free to pass into the smog, soot and shadowy intrigue of 1980s East Berlin.

Das Ost-Berlin vor dem Mauerfall ersteht für Touristen wieder auf. Mit VR-Brille kann man eine Stadtrundfahrt vom Checkpoint Charlie zum Palast der Republik unternehmen, vorbei an Gendarmenmarkt und „Ahornblatt”.

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Or Stalinallee, if your prefer.

Egon Krenz

Inexplicably, East Germany’s last communist boss thinks that the night the Berlin Wall came down (almost thirty years ago) “was the worst night of my life.

Happily for him, it is also something that he “wouldn’t want to experience ever again” because, well, he won’t.

BMW: Bring Me West

German engineering at its best.

Talk about a mother of invention…

In 1963, a man named Klaus-Günter Jacobi decided to help his best friend escape East Berlin and before being forced to report for duty in the East German army. To do so, he decided to modify his BMW Isetta to be able to hide a body.

Now, if you’re not especially familiar with the Isetta, it’s a tiny bubble car with a motorcycle engine at the back and barely enough room for two people to sit in the bench seat behind the front opening door. Space is at a premium, but Jacobi — who had trained as a mechanic — found that there was a dead space behind his seat and next to the Isetta’s tiny engine that could be used to smuggle a person.

The Small Escape

Let There Be Light

Or at least a little more of it in the eastern half of town, I mean.

Berlin

“Berlin at night. Amazingly, I think the light bulbs still show the East/West division from orbit.”

PS: Speaking of interesting aerial shots of Berlin…

Hakenkreuz

OK, OK. This is in San Diego. But still.

There actually is one of these in Berlin, I’m told. I just couldn’t find it right now. Anybody know where?