Monday, November 9, 2009

Busting An Urban Legend

When I meet new people and the fact that I am German comes up in the course of the conversation, I get to hear every now and then, that "David Hasselhoff is a superstar in Germany - right?" with a smirk. Whenever I first heard that, it was completely unexpected... Why would anyone say that?

I am writing this post, because the Berlin Wall opened up 20 years ago today. Even though I was just 11 years old at the time, I can remember this night. I remember my parents waking my brother and I up, so we could see the TV pictures of this moment when history was made. As a child, I had a hard time to understand the fact that our country was divided by a wall. I once saw a piece wall on a family vacation. It was just a wall in the middle of the country side. The first time I went to Berlin was several years later and we went to the museum at Checkpoint Charly. They had videos running on a loop that showed the development in the weeks before 11/9/1989 and ended with people celebrating on top of the Berlin Wall. What an amazing story!

Shortly after the border opened up, there was a concert at the Wall and they let David Hasselhoff perform. He had a song out at the time that was called "Looking for Freedom" and it kind of fit the "theme" of the party. And yes, he had the most sold album in Germany in 1989, but this is where his fame ends. This song was his only number 1 hit in Germany EVER! So PLEASE PLEASE, can we consider this legend as BUSTED? PLEASE!!

Coming back to the important things today! The Wall is gone. The Germans are one nation. I think both sides have gained a lot with being united. I lived in Berlin in the winter 1999/2000 and I worked at the Potsdamer Platz. This area used to be the death zone and 10 years after the fall of the wall, it was still a pretty empty area except the super new shiny buildings at the plaza that tried to fill it up. Back then, it still felt like a scar in the middle of the city. Every year after that, when I visited Berlin, the scar seemed to be getting smaller and less visible. It's a healing process and it takes time. I just looked at a Google Map satellite picture of this area and you can really only make it out, when you know where it was.

I haven't been in Berlin in years, but I still miss this city every now and then. Terry and I won't make it up there this time, but I am hoping to be able to show him this city on our next trip to Germany.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for bringing our culture and history to the american people. And explaining that David "Knight Rider" Hasselhoff is not a superstar nowadays but 20(!) years ago. For a period of 6 weeks or so.