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.

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

I Can Smell The Coal In The Air Now

And hear the MiGs booming through the sound barrier high overhead. And see the Allied tanks rolling down Kaiserdamm.

Bmovie

The good old days? Not really. But kind of, I dunno, predictable?

Berlin in the 1980s was a time of wild parties and artistic creation – and a new documentary gathers the work of over 70 filmmakers to capture the essence of the city during that heady decade before the wall came down. BMovie, Lust and Sound in West Berlin 1979-1989 features unseen footage of musicians like Nick Cave and New Order. It was made by English musician Mark Reeder, who began by talking about bringing Joy Division to Berlin for their first gig

German Of The Day: RIAS

That stands for Rundfunk im amerikanischen Sektor and means radio (or broadcasting) in the American Sector – of a place they used to call “West Berlin.”

Now Father Time has managed to take care of something that the East German jamming stations were never able to do back then in the good old bad old days: Shut this broadcasting tower down. With explosives, in this case.

Von Britz aus ging 1946 der Rundfunk im Amerikanischen Sektor (Rias) auf Sendung. Später entstand dort Europas damals leistungsstärkster Mittelwellensender, mit dem jahrelang auch die Störsender aus Ost-Berlin überwunden werden mussten. Heute gilt die Übertragung per Mittelwelle als veraltet.

The Rise And Fall Of The German-American Volksfest

And fall and fall and fall it has. It’s been falling for at least twenty years now.

Volksfest

They ought to just finally get it over with and pull the plug for good. Like they already have on that other German-American whatever-it-used-to-be.

…At the time, West Germany and the United States were facing the first major postwar crisis in their relations. Many West Germans were protesting against the US war in Vietnam while many others, around 500,000 annually at the time, attended the annual fair, which was then held near the barracks in Berlin’s Dahlem district. They came because they liked the United States or American music — or maybe even its beer.

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?