Friday, 26 October 2012

Checkpoint Charlie

I walked up to see Checkpoint Charlie on my first night in Berlin. I knew I'd arrive too late for the museum, but since the checkpoint was at the top of my "must see" list - and just a short stroll from the Movenpick hotel - I thought I'd go and take a look.

I was really surprised by the jovial atmosphere around the reconstructed hut - the majority of visitors seemed to be more interested in posing for photos, laughing and joking as they took their turns, than thinking about what the checkpoint had represented back when the Berlin Wall still divided the city. (By contrast, when I visited the Berlin Wall Memorial later in the week, the atmosphere was sober and contemplative and - to my mind - far more appropriate.)

I was particularly interested by the multilingual signs, on which a German translation seemed to be an afterthought - presumably because the local German population were the most restricted in their movements.








Rachel said...

"Checkpoint Charlie" is rather a jolly name when you consider what it was really about - maybe people are responding to the name rather than the history.

Kat Biggie said...

So awesome... I went through checkpoint charlie in 1988 before the wall came down, and let me tell you, there was no cheer at all about the place then! But, Berlin was also completely different, dark, somber in itself. Years later I visited and the city is so different, so amazingly different. I can understand how difficult it is for people to realize what the place represented... Thanks for sharing your pics. Stopping by from SITS!

A Cuban In London said...

A very good post and a good point you made abou tourists having their photo taken without perhaps realising the previous history behind the checkpoint. It won't surprise you to know that very little was taught in Cuban schools about the reason why the wall came up in the first place. I only found out later in uni when I started to learn German and was able to access material in German. Thanks for your photos. Powerful reminder, they are.

Greetings from London.

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