« German Heroes | Main | Demonstration in DC: Schroeder's German-American "Friendship Bus" Gets Jacked »


July 4th, huh? Nice little "F**k you" there.

It sure is, Moonbat One. There's no mistaking the message the Berlin government is sending to Americans. But you know what? It's OK with me. We've gotten the message loud and clear the past few years. The bridges have been burned.

What is really disgusting is the disrespect shown the 1,000 murdered Germans, as well as their families. That's about as low as you can go.

Hi I just called the German Embassy (202) 298-4000. They had no idea. I told them we got the message loud and clear. Please feel free to call them.


Well, the story is not as bad as it seems upon further research.

The (private) monument of crosses has been there since october of 2004 (for 8 months) on leased property. The lease has expired and the bank from which the property was leased wants its land cleared. A court has ruled, the the organizers of the monument must clear the land.

Well, the story is not as bad as it seems upon further research.

The (private) monument of crosses has been there since october of 2004 (for 8 months) on leased property. The lease has expired and the bank from which the property was leased wants its land cleared. A court has ruled, the the organizers of the monument must clear the land.

Click here for story

You beat me in posting my own post, americanbychoice ;)

I'll get you next time. Hahahaha

Thanks guys.

I've added that information.

That sounds quite different. As much as I usually enjoy reading this blog, something seems to have gone wrong. Some people would consider it bias to ignore facts to serve one's own agenda. That would be quite embarassing for a blog that writes against media bias.
I am sure Ray will slightly adapt his article to avoid that kind of thinking.

He already did :-) q.e.d.
Way to go Ray.

@ Cerb,

We all miss facts on occasion, especially in the midst of hectic ongoing preparations for a demonstration. I am no exception and that is part of the reason we have an open comments section. The important thing is that when we do miss something relevant to the story or make a mistake, and when others point it out, that we react appropriately. That is what I done and I have given an extra hattip to Americanbychoice for pointing it out. That said, the added information has not changed the main thrust of the article in the least.

Oh yeah, I really don't appreciate your implication that I purposefully ignored something to "serve my own agenda." That's a pretty cynical thing to say and I find it hard to believe that you are a regular reader who "enjoys" our blog. Sort of seems like you have an agenda of your own.

For the record, this is the paragraph I added:

"The monument grounds were leased to Ms. Alexandra Hildebrandt of the Checkpoint Charlie Museum by a bank headquartered in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and Ms. Hildebrandt and a team of others began erecting the crosses in October 2004. The bank subsequently refused to renew the lease and, when Ms. Hildebrandt refused to remove the monument, sued and won. Ms. Hildebrandt wants to buy the land from the bank and keep the monument at its historic location, but the city government has made it clear that they will oppose her and want the monument to go despite its enormous popularity."

BTW: If anyone ever notices that we have missed important information or that we have made an error in any article, please feel free to tell us about it in our comments section or by emailing us. David and I are both fallable human beings and we appreciate our readers' input. We certainly won't pull a Dan Rather-style 'fake but accurate' on you.

If it is ok for the people of Berlin to be ruled by the same party that once divided their city, then don't expect much support for this shortlived, but in my opinion important monumnet.

BTW Berlin is the epicenter of Antiamericanism in Germany today, which is remarkable when you keep in mind that America did more for West Berlin than for any other German city.
But of course East Germany was also the capital of the GDR and the people there suffered less under communism than in other East German cities.
West Berlin also changed a lot since JFK held his famous speech During the late 60 and 70 s many lefties from West Germany moved to West Berlin to avoid service in the German Army and long before unification Berlin was well known for its every year anarschist streetfights on May 1.
The city also becomes more and more dominated by muslims and is already the biggest turkish city outside of Turkey.

The land may be the (is the)property of the bank, but Checkpoint Charlie is a part of history. It is difficult to understand that neither the city of Berlin nor the Federal Government preserved this property to do what Ms. Hildebrandt is doing, namely commerating more than 1000 people who died trying to attain FREEDOM! Furthermore the choice of the 4th of July, our independence day, the birthdate of the oldest Democracy on the face of this earth, a Beacon of Freedom to many, to bulldoze this site is quite curious. The educated Germans pride themselves on being knowledgable of history - should the choice of the 4th of July really just be a coincidence?

this has nothing to do with the US. if germans want to forget the recent past let them. it was afterall germans escaping other german oppression. germans will be worse off for obliterating though imho.

Uh oh, americanbychoice definately now owes me a beer for cut-n-pasting my FR post and now for getting a hat-tip too! ;)

The main thing is, we got the article corrected.

And I owe you both a beer. This demonstrates why blogs work: They are self-correcting.

@ Eric and ray
I would love to have a beer with you next time I am in Germany.
Just came back.
I will visit my mother agin in 3 months. Thanks :)

I'll be in DC tomorrow :)

Hope you can join us!

Wouldn't it be great if the bank were to lease the Check Point Charlie land to the memorial and museum in perpetuity. They could create a new entry in their annual report: The Cost of Freedom.

Well, what a coincidence. My first visit to Berlin was on July 4, 1969. I had hitched a ride with a salesman through East Germany. In comparison with the West Germans, the Easterners were so poor. At a rest stop-only dollars and marks allowed-an admiring crowd had gathered around a new Ford, for goodness sakes. Crossing the border was a shock for a farm boy from Utah. Guns, searches, dogs, towers, parallel barb wire fences with white sand in between, all made quite an impression on me. Later, on the Stadtrundfahrt, we were able to climb up on one of the scaffolds that had been erected for viewers to look over the wall. It was a little disconcerting to look at an armed guard and see that he was looking back right at you. On the scaffold was a German who was waving 'half a peace sign' at the guards. His wife was frantic that he may be shot. A remote possibility, for sure. But to tell the truth, none of us were standing all that close to him. This was a Fourth of July that I have not forgotten. It might not be important to keep this memorial open but I sure hope that people don't forget the evil and the injustice that the Wall and the government of the DDR represented.


I disagree that this has nothing to do with the US. It was our sector and our guys who manned the check point and our guys who were in the line of fire when the East Germans fired at their own people who were trying to become free people. And it was our guys who had to show restraint and not shoot back to protect the innocent unarmed men, women and children, who wanted to live in freedom. Oh yes, it was us i.e. the US who maintained the Luftbruecke, it was us who called off Margaret Thatcher and were on the Germans side when it came to reuniting Germany. It may well be true that the Germans want to forget, or at least some, but I for one will not let our contribution be forgotten. The Government of Berlin has obviously forgotten or worse yet have chosen the 4th of July to provoke us and show us what they truly feel about our contribution. We got the message - it's loud and clear. If they don't want to remember the 1000 plus people, I want to remember those who were routing for them - those Americans sitting in the check point holding their breath praying that the people made it across the barbwire - alive.


US Tanks in a standoff with Russian one at checkpoint Charlie. Yes, this does have an American angle. It wasn't Germans manning those tanks.

What I don't understand is how it's not okay to equate the Communints or East Germany with the Third Reich, but it's okay to call Bush a Nazi. Between the two comparisons, the former is more apt.

Anytime they shoot you when you try to leave the country, you know you've got a big problem.


there is nothing left for us with Germany as a strategic ally. And the less we have to do with them economically the better. It is well time they leave the roost and make their own mistakes (again and again it would appear). We should not waste time bailling them out anymore; we've done more than enough for them already and we should leave it at that, history.

It's all very sad. Apparently, we humans are incapable of learning from the past, and so we drag out hatred at the very smallest of provocations and toss it into someone else's face to save our own. Germany and Germans had their chance, and apparently they are blowing it.


it hurts me to admit this, but I am beginning to think that your assessment is correct. I truly am beginning to think I will check back with them in 10 years and see what happened.

I do not see how this can be stopped.

I do not see how the German Government is going to explain away the pictures of a bulldozer running over crosses representing murdered cizilians?

I am sure the German Press will somehow blame Bush for this act.

I grant the bank's right to use their property as they see fit. I think the allusion to Disneyland is the really odd comment in this. Did the East German SED dictatorship have wooden signs of guards with hands held out stating, "you must be this tall to try for your freedom"?

I can't say that I'm surprised. America is appreciated only as long as it's needed.

I suppose that I am in the minority here. If the property has passed to private hands then I say the owners get the call. Yes, its a shame to destroy the only (I assume only) monument to those brave souls who tried for freedom, but I would protest the governments interference in private property matters.

The real question is, how did the government of Berlin let the place transfer to private ownership?

Wow, sounds like Germany is subject to American Capitalist style rent control laws. The irony that shutting the memorial down will set a legal precident for property rights in Germany.

I wish I lived near DC so I could set up 1,000 similar crosses for Chancellor Schroeder's visit.

@ RicardoVerde:

Excellent question. That historic property ought to be protected by the German government.

It's just too much of an embarrassment for the communists, the ones with such a good system they needed a wall to keep the people IN.

This story and the message behind it (which far exceeds any private property infrigements) has hit me like a tonne of bricks.

In an almost eerie coincidence for me, I just saw this past Saturday, a film called "The Tunnel" (2003) at my local University's cinemahouse.

It's the real-life story of a group of men and one woman who carved out a 145m tunnel and brought some two dozen people into freedom from East Germany, which they had desperately wanted to escape -- that jewel of the Communist Crown. Shyeah right.

I urge the blog owner, and everyone who can, to watch it, so you can have reinforced what this Checkpoint Charlie really means, not just in terms of crosses, but the very real people who were affected by an oppressive, disgustingly inhuman system -- a 'worthy' successor of Nazi Germany in so many respects.

I couldn't imagine someone getting on their legal highhorse and asking Dachau to be torn down, no matter what private private niceties had to be reinforced.

I suppose the larger question is, why is it that CERTAIN Germans didn't have the foresight to do what Miss Hildebrand did with her private resources? I thought the State was supposed to be more thoughtful and responsive than the mere impulses of a single person?

I am half-German. My mother's family are socially prominent in Germany -- this means beans to most people, but in this case, I will use whatever weight their influence can bring (via their solicitors, as soon as I write an email) that can be mustered to make sure another voice is added to a disaffected chorus on the topic.

Thanks for keeping tabs on this story.

I love bloggers.

(And thanks to my friend Steven for bringing this story to my attention)


One of these days America will be a figment of Germanys imagination and everyone will be free, we hope...uh, we pray...uh, we think...uh, never mind. Salaam

What a devastating article!
It's shocking for all those (like myself), whose parents fought against communism and for freedom and democracy.
No wonder the damned SEDPDS communists would rather have it torn down .... shame on them, they ought to be imprisoned and
not elected ... but the Germans are simply the way they are nowadays ...

Will there be a demonstration against this demolition in Berlin? When and where exactly?
Does anyone have additional information?

You sure about Iceland being the world's oldest democracy? It's history says it was granted limited homerule by Denmark in 1874, domestic sovereignty in 1918, and full sovereignty in 1944.

Also the United States has several birthdates depending on how you measure it. The obvious one is the date the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. The second would be when the now defunct Articles of Confederation were adopted on November 15, 1777.

The date I find most acceptable for the birth of the US Government is September 17, 1787. The system of government for the United States has been continuous since then, with the latter addition of Amendments which our Constitution permits.

As far as democracy itself, well that has been practiced in the US prior to the Declaration of Independence amongst the individual colonies, later named states and commonwealths. Each state has its own constitution, but I don't think any of them predate the Declaration of Independence. I think the earliest democraticly controlled governments in the US was practiced by the Puritan colonists in the New England colonies at the local level. True to their name they practiced a form of direct democracy where colonists, both male and female I believe, would have to arrive at a unanimous vote to enact new legislation.

For a nation to be a democracy it requires that several conditions are met for me:

1. representatives in government must be popularly elected.

2. it must be a sovereign nation.

3. the government must be formulated in law.

Don't these three conditions make the United States the oldest (as in continuous) democracy in the world?

Also it should be noted that when democracy was being introduced as a system of government in the US, across Europe aristocrats (not all of course) were highly skeptical of its ability to succeed and denounced it. If a successful democracy existed prior to the United States, why have I heard nothing about it from contemporary people of the times? And democractic government was a heated debate during the Enlightenment.

> It's the real-life story of a group of men and one woman who carved out a 145m tunnel and brought some two dozen people into freedom from East Germany, which they had desperately wanted to escape -- that jewel of the Communist Crown. Shyeah right.

I urge the blog owner, and everyone who can, to watch it, so you can have reinforced what this Checkpoint Charlie really means, not just in terms of crosses, but the very real people who were affected by an oppressive, disgustingly inhuman system -- a 'worthy' successor of Nazi Germany in so many respects.

Just a few more facts:
The tunnel was located at Bernauer Straße. This is also the historical place where this photo was taken. There (controversial) Berlin Wall Memorial is located at Bernauer Straße.

From the webpage:
The memorial is dedicated to "the memory of the division of the city from August 13, 1961 to November 9, 1989," but following vehement protest from people who had been personally affected by these events and from victim associations, the inscription on the memorial plaque was extended to include the words "in memory of the victims of the communist tyranny."

Although geographically located in the middle of Berlin, the memorial is too far off of anything interesting for any tourists to go there. However, it is the historical place where these tragic events really happened.

Don't wait until July 4th. Protest now. Bus loads of West Germans and West Berliners should be outraged at this.

PS. The Socialists were always good at generating protests during the cold war. It is time for the democratic side, the old West, to fight back.

Matt - if those are your three criteria for democracy, England/Great Britain is older than America by some way. Its Parliament has been popularly elected since the Middle Ages, it's a sovereign nation and its government was formulated in law since time immemorial. Some Swiss cantons may be older too. Myself, however, I would add a fourth - that no large group of adults is deprived of the right to vote, except convicts and lunatics.

According to this criterion, America didn't become a true democracy until some time in the 1960's when it at last extended voting rights to black citizens in the South.

This has all to do with Germany's reunification and with the Third Reich.

Firstly, the US and its protection and contribution to the reunification is widely forgotten. When people think of German reunification, they think of the GDR demonstrations in 1989 and of Gorbatschow (a Communist!).

Secondly, during the Nazi dictatorship Socialists and Social democrats were murdered in concentration camps. Basically, the Nazis persecuted and murdered anyone who was not willing to subdue to the agenda of constant racial war and complete control. E.g. Christians were murdered too. But Social democrats were also the only party who rejected the "Ermächtigungsgesetz" (enabling act, giving Hitler unlimited power, regardless what the parlament says). ( http://www.lsg.musin.de/Geschichte/wr/Weimarer_Republik_Projekt/reden/otto_wels.htm - German )

So when we are talking about American fight against Socialism and Communism, we are talking about a fight in which America fights Totalitarianism and promotes free societies. The German history of fight against Socialism/Communism is a different one - one fought from the position of facism, of another form of dictatorship. And because leftists were against Hitler, although the alternative certainly was sort of a Stalinist state, the opposition gives them the label "antifacists". Americans are not connected to the Nazi past of Germany and its implications. Furthermore, the whole existance of the GDR is seen as a result of German facism only - this view is very common among the left. Going this far, even Germans who were murdered attempting to escape Communist East Germany can be seen as a result of Hitler's regime, completely whitewashing GDR/Communist injustice, murder, the spying of neighbors and even own family members, organized by the Stasi (State security service of the GDR).

Now having completed the reunification, the next problem is how to deal with GDR injustice, how to deal with perpetrators and victims, to which extend is it individual guilt, to which extend is it the right of a different state? Take for example Merkel. In order to study she had to participate in GDR jouth movement, she had to be in the SED (Socialist Unity Party of the GDR); however if she was a resistance/opposition member prior to 1989, she would never have made any academic career as a physicist. In 1989 when she joined the democratic movement, the danger was gone.

But could you really bar those who participated and who followed the GDR regime, those who worked as inofficial spies (see http://www.bstu.de/home.htm ), those who simply did NOT want freedom and democracy or even were active regime members?! No. If you removed all elites of Eastern Germany, that part of Germany would be reduced to the role of a loser of history, not participating in the big questions of the future.

Even after the end of the Third Reich many academics and also state officials continued to work in the new democratic FRG in West Germany (some Nazis continued unter the Communist regime in the GDR as well). E.g. Hitlers judges, one of three was employed in the FRG. Simply because you cannot remove all people of a dictatorship and start completely new. In Iraq today, many soldiers, officers and officials are working in the same job they had during Saddam's rule.

What does that mean for the view of recent history? It means, Socialists and Communists are not told "OK, all what you have done so far was sh**, all the GDR stood for was a failed concept of tyranny and oppression, all who participated, their whole life is wasted, now see and learn freedom and until you have learned that shut up!" - Instead we see reconciliation, provided by belittlement of the Communist era, even GDR nostalgia, sometimes simply based on lies. Maybe future generations will be able to really deal with the GDR past and its own conclusions and will be able to learn something for the future. Among the living Germans, there are just to many who don't want to accept the role of the loser of history.

So their hatred of America even grows stronger since the Cold war is over and Antiamericanism provides a sick basis for unity and new German strength, not defined by real history and its conclusions but defined by being against something/someone and having the self-confidence again that we (especially the left) are important and are not beaten!

You can sum it up by saying: In German history only few men and women have fought for freedom, and many others were participating in oppressing those few. What can you expect of a populist/opportunist politician then?

It's not entirely accurate to call Iceland the "oldest continuous democracy." Their parliament, the Althing, though established in 930, was discontinued for almost 50 years between 1799 and 1844.

But then, if we consider the US to have been a "democracy" since 1787, when women and blacks couldn't vote, then wouldn't Great Britain have achieved this earlier, when enfranchisement wasn't much narrower than in post-Revolutionary America?

That's the problem with this question. It all depends on the watersheds you set. If the criterion is throwing off the yoke of the monarchy, then the United Kingdom still wouldn't count as a democracy (much to their surprise, I'm sure). If instead the criterion is women's suffrage, then we've effectively shifted the realization of modern democracy to almost the turn of the century, since New Zealand was the first to grant the female vote in 1893.

BTW, who owns the actual checkpoint station mock-up and "American Sector" sign at Checkpoint Charlie? Is that also private?

Some things to be cleared up (IMHO):

  • This is not the only memorial for the people killed at the wall
  • The other memorial is near the Reichstag and relatively tiny
  • There is a part of the wall with the "death-strip" reconstructed at Bernauer Street (where the famous pic of the fleeing GDR-soldier was taken) you could understand this to be a memorial as well
  • There s NO other memorial for all the individuals murdered at the Berlin wall. At least none that I'm aware of.

I have to admit that bulldozing that monument might show that we Germans have not found a good way to deal with our recent history, yet. I really hope that we won't make the same mistakes as we made with dealing with the Third Reich.
But then I also don't understand how Americans can criticize on that. If it was a monument set up for killed Americans that would be ok. But it isn't. I understand that it is a monument set up by Germans to remember Germans killed by the former communist German state. So shouldn't it be Germans to decide about what will be done with it? I don't understand why Mr. Momper used the comparison with Disneyland and I as a German would oppose to that. However, if it's German history, let the Germans deal with it. You find your way to deal with your Smerican history, we'll find ours to deal with our history. Even if German authorities have the monument bulldozed on July 4th, it's still a German thing. July 4th is not a special day in Germany and I don't see any reason why it should be. You can bulldoze as many monuments in the US set up for the remembrance of killed Americans on October 3rd, June 17th or November 9th or whatever. It's an American thing why shouldn't you do it on the national holiday of some other country?
I don't understand the argument about Americans who served in Berlin as well. Of course, they've done a great job for the democratic West there. Have they dfone it for Germany? In my eyes they haven't done it more for Germany than for any other Western country. Germany happened to be at the border of the communist world and it was the country that lost WW II. It could have been any other country as well. The Americans served Western interests and therefore also American interests. Today Germany can server Western interests itself and therefore it should do it itself. It might make mistakes on the way, maybe even bad ones like this one might be, but it's doing it's job like it thinks it's best. Do you think the US never made or make mistakes? Do you think that other countries might not have known better if they'd been asked?


@ Christian --

It's objectionable to us because the US defended West Berlin at considerable risk, cost, and sacrafice to itself. Now, there are numerous reasons -- logistical, strategic, ideological -- why we did so, but above all I think it was because on May 9, 1945, Germany and the US became friends once more, and the new Germany found itself in a precarious situation that required American (as well as French and British) support.

I don't think America has ever demanded a "thank you" from Germany. But, destroying this monument -- on July 4 no less -- essentially sends the message that what the US did during the Cold War was meaningless and in the grand scheme of things not terribly important.

I'm not saying that one has to show knee-jerk support for everything the US did during the Cold War. But, I hope you can see now why an American might feel that bulldozing Checkpoint Charlie is both grossly obscene and insulting.

Full on topic, also read / Auch zum Thema: http://myblog.de/politicallyincorrect/art/1578429


Still wonder why German (state) media is so largely supporting the left ? - The results of that influence are discussed here...

/ Wundert es da noch, dass deutsche (öffentlich-rechtliche) Medien die Linken unterstützen? Die Resultate der Beeinflussung werden dann hier diskutiert...

I think we should consider Germany 1949-1989 not only as a possible battlefield of a (nuclear) Third World War.

Most of all it was actually a large battlefield of anti-Western propaganda of the communists - and even through West-German journalists and politicians. The influenced masses who believe it are still living today and so the propaganda lives on as well.

The comments to this entry are closed.


The Debate

Blog powered by Typepad

April 2023

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29