A Conversation for Checkpoint Charlie

I remember Checkpoint Charlie

Post 1

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Post Editor

Great entry!smiley - smiley

I crossed Checkpoint Charlie on foot in the mid-1970s. I remember how pleasant and polite the soldiers were. It was no trouble at all. Of course, I looked completely harmless.

The day before, I had crossed into East Berlin at the Friedrichstrasse Bahnhof. It took 45 minutes, involved filling out a lot of paper, and the guards there behaved with extreme suspicion. They acted as if you must be guilty of something. Kafkaesque.

After that, you expected the East Berliners to be suspicious, too, but they were outgoing and friendly; friendlier, in fact, than the West Berliners.

Thanks for the memory. It's good to know where the museum is.smiley - cheers


I remember Checkpoint Charlie

Post 2

the_evil_tree

Glad I can help smiley - smiley

I'm not actually too sure I would have liked to have seen in when it was up and running... the police with guns that they have on the continent manage to make me feel nervous - I'm not sure what cold war era Berlin would have done to me...

bye


I remember Checkpoint Charlie

Post 3

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Post Editor

It was creepy, riding the S-Bahn underground, when you went past any construction, there were guards with machine guns standing over the workmen.

But East Berlin itself was very pretty and charming. All the buildings in the old city had been restored, instead of being torn down and replaced. Things were cheaper there, just less plentiful. And the people were friendly. That was also true in cold-war Romania.

This was in the seventies, of course. I'm sure the really scary time was in the late forties and fifties, when there was so much tension.

There's a great old black-and-white film about the Berlin Airlift, called 'The Big Lift'. It's pretty accurate, even if it is full of US propaganda.


I remember Checkpoint Charlie

Post 4

the_evil_tree

I'll have to look out for that film. If you want to see some slightly strange and disconcerting American propaganda you should see the cartoon things that Disney did...

For the few weeks I was in Berlin I seemed to hardly ever go into the west bit - there just wasn't much there apart from Zoo station and the large ugly chain stores around it (and I can see plenty of them in London). The people in Berlin were great and defied every stereotype and preconception that I had of German people. Apart from Boris Becker you never really see a German who isn't been shown as the stereotype... (there probably are others apart from Becker but I have a really terrible memory...)

bye


I remember Checkpoint Charlie

Post 5

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Post Editor

I remember one or two of those Disney films. They were awful.

Another really terrible film was the Tarzan one with the Nazis, I think it was called 'Tarzan Goes to War', or something like that. I saw it at a film club in Munich, and the German students died laughing. It was surreal.

Another very unstereotypical German was Willy Brandt, who was once mayor of Berlin. Brave guy.


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